Some are suggesting a “compromise” between those who vaccinate and those who don’t: Deny healthcare to the unvaccinated.
This suggestion varies regarding the players (doctors, ER workers, nurses, clinics, hospitals, individual employees) and the details (deny all healthcare in any form, deny only treatment for vaccine-preventable diseases, or some combination), but in essence, it would force the unvaccinated to “suffer the consequences” for their choices. Besides the glowing discrimination in this suggestion, there are four main reasons to oppose it: 1) It is unethical. 2) It is impossible to implement consistently. 3) It is based on fear and hate; not truth or tolerance. 4) It is won’t actually solve any problem.
1) It is unethical.
In general, employees do not pick and choose whom they agree with and serve only those people, particularly in the healthcare business. Should a Christian nurse not serve people with sexually transmitted infections gained by unbiblical behavior? What about the man who accidentally shot himself with a gun he was cleaning that the nurse thinks he should not own? What about the grandma who stubbornly refused to wear her seat-belt and was thrown through the windshield? Or the obese person who didn’t heed the government’s food pyramid for eating and exercise? Or the individual who never should have starting drinking alcohol or doing drugs in the first place?
If we follow this philosophy to its logical conclusion, suddenly we have a healthcare system where each employee must have complete ideological agreement with the patient he or she is serving. This would be nearly impossible in the Land of the Free, besides the fact that it is unethical.
From a purely economic standpoint, these centers are businesses that provide health care to sick people, regardless of their circumstances. Businesses can thrive only with customers, and because even most adults are not completely vaccinated, businesses need even unvaccinated customers. Perhaps an individual provider could have freedom of conscience not to participate in some controversial procedure, but in a profession historically associated with altruism and compassion, healthcare businesses ought to be careful that this not be abused to elevate one customer as “worthy of care” over another who has an identical need.
Perhaps a private insurance company could refuse to cover those who are not fully vaccinated. Hopefully the free market would foster competition with a private company that would only cover those who are unvaccinated. In would be interesting to compare premiums over the next half century. But surely, this decision isn’t for healthcare corporations to decide, much less individual employees. It is completely unethical for a physician to pick and choose who is deserving of the care they offer, and most, if not all, healthcare workers recognize this.
An individual healthcare worker has no right to deny care to a law-abiding citizen practicing their legal right to vaccine exemption, whether that is for one, some, or all doses. The law allows these exemptions, and for a healthcare worker to neglect and discriminate against the unvaccinated is to put himself above the law.
2) It is impossible to implement consistently.
In the case of an emergency, what would a healthcare worker following this treat-only-the-fully-vaxed suggestion do? Test for the patient's immunity before treatment? Fax over the patient's vaccine records? Expect an emotional parent to accurately state the dates that all 72 doses were given to their child? In the time these things take to figure out, a patient could die before finding out whether or not he was vaccinated. First, do no harm.
What about the babies who are not old enough for vaccines yet? Should they be denied care because of something their parents might or might not do for them?
What about those who opted-out of the flu vaccine or the HPV vaccine? Should the hospitals not admit them when they come down with flu complications or cervical cancer? (Are you caught up on all your shots?)
What about the infant who had a medical exemption signed by her doctor because the vaccine would have been deadly for her? Should the clinic not admit her if she comes down with the illness?
What about the child who had a near-death experience within hours of her vaccination? Afterwards, her doctor refused a medical exemption and insisted that she get the next booster two months later. Her mother never returned to the clinic because she judged chicken pox to be less life-threatening than the vaccine. Will a nurse-practitioner deny care to soothe her itching if she contracts pox?
What about the Jews or Muslims or Christians who have a religious exemption because animal or fetal DNA in the vaccine? What right does a nurse have to judge and discriminate when the law is on the side of those with the exemption?
What about the illegal immigrant who isn’t vaccinated because she didn’t have the residency paperwork to show the doctor and would have risked exportation, but now has come down with a vaccine-preventable illness?
What about the frail grandfather who was up-to-date with his six vaccines in 1962, but hasn’t received today’s schedule of the other 66 vaccines? Will the clinic refuse him?
What about the child whose father was uneducated and didn’t know that vaccines were recommended for her? Will the doctor shun them?
What about the individual who had an appointment to get a shot that afternoon, but then came down with a mysterious fever that happened to be vaccine-preventable? Should his doctor refuse to see him?
What about the child who is allergic to one or more ingredients in the vaccine or cannot detoxify metals because of a genetic mutation? (Food allergies and genetic disorders generally do not qualify for medical exemptions.) Should an ER worker sit in the seat of judgment when he actually knows nothing about the patient’s long-term health history?
What about a teenager who already had the illness and so turned down the vaccine, but contracted the illness a second time years later? Should he be refused admission to the hospital?
What about two people sitting in the ER with the exact same breathing-related complications from pertussis? One was vaccinated and shed the live-virus to the unvaccinated individual next to her. Should the triage nurse admit the first and kick the other out to the street?
What about the baby who is only partially vaccinated because of the recommendation of their doctor? Should a nurse, then, refuse to serve them?
As evidenced above, there are myriad good reasons why a family might not be up-to-date with the ever-evolving CDC recommended schedule. In order to be consistent, a healthcare worker must understand the ins and outs of each and every one of these decisions and offer care only to those with whom they agree. Instead, an ethical healthcare worker would serve all those who are in need, expecting that not all families will make the same decisions, nor will they have identical health histories or religious backgrounds.
3) It is based on fear, vengeance, and hate; not truth, compassion, and tolerance.
While at first it might seem like a practical compromise, the denial of care to under-vaccinated families is based on fear of illness, and hate for those making alternative life choices. It is not based on the truth about the risks of vaccination (found on the CDC website) or tolerance for others who have come to different conclusions. It implies that the entire subset of not-fully-vaccinated individuals are idiots and don’t deserve to live, when many of them have actually read more medical and scientific journals than their own doctors.
Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Luke 5:31). Indeed, He was teaching a spiritual lesson with these words, but the spiritual lesson can only be understood by the obvious truth of the earthly analogy. Most unvaccinated families don’t need regular professional care. They are not afraid of routine childhood illnesses, even if there are possible complications. They are prepared to treat the normal course of the illness from within their home, in the unlikely event that they would actually contract the illness. They wisely seek outside help in the case of a complication because it would be irresponsible not to! Complications are entirely unrelated to vaccination status; both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated can contract and have complications from vaccine-preventable illnesses. Under-vaccinated families acknowledge, and have sometimes experienced, the real, documented, life-threatening side-effects of vaccines. If a healthcare worker truly believes in the denial of care to those outside their own belief system, fewer and fewer families seek their care anyway. Those families will bring their money elsewhere and support doctors and healthcare workers who can discuss facts, think logically, answer questions, and appreciate diversity.
For professionals to suggest punishment for the under-vaccinated by neglecting them is a scare tactic. It manipulates people to vaccinate without their informed consent, not based on risk/benefit analysis. Is this the new platform of healthcare: intimidation? Do the people supporting this course of action really understand the implications of it? Do they actually support the medical rape of their neighbor who must be forcibly injected by an undesired and potentially harmful substance, or be denied medical assistance?
4) It won’t actually solve any problem.
Even if we grant that those who would deny care desire to protect others, implementing such a plan wouldn’t actually help anyone; it will only cause harm.
Many vaccines were never meant to protect the public. They are recommended are only for self-protection. Some diseases are only contracted through risky behavior or career choice. Why should a person who has none of the risk factors for Hepatitis B skip the shot, only to have a doctor refuse to set a broken bone? Even if a young woman refused the HPV shot, but came down with cervical cancer, who are we to judge her choice and withhold treatment? Who of us has never regretted a decision? Many vaccines have nothing to do with public health, and so those who choose to avoid them should certainly not be punished publicly.
Regardless of one’s vaccine status, anyone can contract a vaccine-preventable illness. First, a percentage of people who are vaccinated against a disease never actually develop immunity against it, even in a completely vaccinated population. No vaccine is 100% effective. Second, a percentage of people who receive live-virus vaccines come down with the very illness, and spread that illness to others. The unvaccinated are not automatically cesspools of germs. They to not deserve to be the scapegoats when others want someone to blame. Have unvaccinated individuals spread vaccine-preventable illnesses? Certainly! But, so have their vaccinated counterparts!
If healthcare workers honestly want to protect others, they need to look at fatalities. Because many more people die from MMR-related vaccinations than measles, many doctors do not think the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the risks. The priority for healthcare here is obvious, but in complete denial by the mainstream media.
If healthcare workers honestly want to protect others, they need to look at shedding. In an article by the CDC on page 6, it states that 9% of infants shed Rotavirus after their first vaccination for one to fifteen days! It is essential that children be kept home for two weeks or more after live-virus vaccinations, so they cannot spread the active virus residing in their bodies with those too young or sick to be vaccinated.
If healthcare workers honestly want to protect others, they need to look to adults. To be consistent, all school teachers and staff ought to be up-to-date on their 72 vaccinations. Let’s not put the entire burden on small innocent children. If public schools continue to provide education even to those who don’t do their homework, why should a hospital receiving public funding refuse to treat those who don’t do everything the CDC recommends?
If healthcare workers honestly want to protect others, they need to look at travelers. Most of the measles cases in the U.S. result from international travel. They should recommend automatic checks of vaccination records at National and State boarders and quarantine individuals to be sure they aren’t carriers. They should recommend hand-washing monitors in every public bathroom. They should report anyone neglecting to cover their cough to the proper government agency. To be consistent, healthcare workers would refuse to treat any person not willing to succumb to such time-consuming embarrassment. If you don’t think the public would stand for that, then why should the unvaccinated?
If healthcare workers honestly want to protect others, they need to look at alternatives. There are many ways to train the immune system, fight illness, and incubate people carrying illness so fewer will be susceptible to its spread. They should not manipulate others by fear that there is only one good way, particularly when that way hasn’t even been tested through the lifetime of a single generation of children.
If healthcare workers want to be honest, how could an unvaccinated child who has never contracted a disease give it to someone else? It is possible they could become a carrier, but they would know enough to quarantine themselves if they are sick, whereas the vaccinated carriers of live-viruses are often so mildly infected that they continue on with life as normal and infect others in public. The unvaccinated are not the cause of childhood illnesses; germs are, and in at least some cases, vaccinated individuals are the ones spreading those germs.
The vast majority of those who choose not to vaccinate care very much about their neighbors. They don't make important choices without considering others. But, they feel their first responsibility is to their own children, to make the best decisions they can for them with the information they have. They don't expect everyone else to make the same choices, nor do they make the same decision in every child's case.
Consider what the suggestion of the denial of care looks like to the 6,000 families to whom the Federal Court has awarded $4 billion dollars for vaccine injury and death since 1988. (These families are estimated to be 1% of actual vaccine-injury according a Harvard study and a statement by former FDA Commissioner David Kessler.) Yes, there are devastated families who have lost children due to vaccine-preventable diseases, but even a 100% vaccine rate could not have changed that. There are also devastated families who have lost children due to vaccine-injury, which is completely preventable. All lives matter.
Vaccination is not a black-and-white issue, no matter what sound-bites, memes, and the CDC may try to convince you. Those who have made the decision to abstain from one dose, or all 72, have not done so lightly or out of ignorance. Often, it is not a medical decision at all, but a religious or philosophical one. To deny them medical care is completely unethical, impossible to implement, based on hate, and won’t solve any problems.
Those who choose to vaccinate also make the best decisions they can out of love for others. Don’t let suggestions of denial of medical care pit one against the other. The Great Physician never denies care to any soul who needs Him, even those who have made mistakes in the past. He forgives our sins and welcomes any and all to receive His care. He desires that we seek peaceful dialogue and genuine compassion, not hateful judgment and political hostility.
Mrs. Marie K. MacPherson, vice president of Into Your Hands LLC, lives in Casper, Wyoming, with her husband Ryan and their children, whom she homeschools. She is a certified Classical Lutheran Educator (Consortium for Classical Lutheran Educators), author of Meditations on the Vocation of Motherhood (Old Testament vol., 2018; New Testament vol., 2023), and editor of Mothering Many: Sanity-Saving Strategies from Moms of Four or More (2016).