Mayo Clinic’s “Herd Immunity” Analyses, Vaccine Hesitancy & My Perspectives
G. Yanquoi Lavela, Esq.,
Doctor of Jurisprudence.
Mayo Clinic Health Systems has been my primary care provider for the last 15 years. It is renowned as a research hospital for its cutting edge medical science worldwide. So much so that it has become the “go-to” place for many heads of states for advanced medical treatments, including presidents of the United States. Occasionally, it sends online news bulletins to its patients on the state of medical research on pathogens and virology. See Mayo Clinic's recent medical press release on the much touted "herd immunity" with respect to COVID-19 pandemic, what it means, and it’s efficacy, or the lack thereof, depending on the methodology used to acquire it, and the grim predictions about the number of deaths necessary to attain “herd immunity”: (https://www.mayoclinic.org/search/search-results?q=herd%20immunity). It lays out two distinct methods of attaining herd immunity, with analyses of the “pros” and “cons” of each methodology.
One is the method of natural infection. And the other is herd immunity acquired by mass vaccination of the population. Simply put, herd immunity acquired by natural infection, by definition, occurs when a large number of the population, or “the herd”, is purposefully allowed to be infected and healed naturally, and thereby acquires “natural immunity” against future infections, by forcing the body to develop its own antigens or antibodies against a virus, or any foreign pathogens. For this to happen, you have to let as many people get infected and possibly die, as possible, with the conscious awareness and societal tolerance of the mass casualties involved. Think of the Bubonic Plague, or the “Black Death” of the Middle Ages (1346–1353), and its worldwide casualty impact of between 75-200 million deaths before the infection rate leveled off and naturally declined with time. But that took almost a decade with devastating consequences. Now, with the availability of modern vaccines to replicate a virus and inject it into humans to speed up the immunization process, the theory is that “herd immunity” through vaccination can be attained when the percentage of the vaccinated population significantly exceeds the non-vaccinated group, so as to make a further spread of the virus most unlikely. With either methodology, it is predicted that a very large number of the population is expected to die, with or without the vaccine, especially in light of the newly discovered and constantly mutating variants of the COVID-19 virus. Speaking on Russia Today TV, Professor emeritus of particle physics at the Department of Physics, University of California at Berkeley, Richard A. Muller put it even more starkly. He said that the vaccine is not for the protection of the individual, but society as a whole, and a very many people will have to die to achieve the desired goal of herd immunity through vaccines.
Thus, between the two “herd immunity” methodologies, (natural infection vs. vaccine infection), it is easy to observe why the latter is politically expedient. No politician wants millions of deaths of its population on his watch, like the Bubonic Plague. This explains the unhealthy entanglements of politics and medicine. When many of us as children took vaccines for measles and smallpox in the 1950s under the auspices of the then apolitical World Health Organization (W.H.O.), the whole matter was in the hands of scientists and there was no question of “vaccine hesitancy”, because people had implicit trusts in medical doctors, who in turn, were exclusively guided by the Hippocratic Oath of: “Do No Harm.” The current “vaccine hesitancy” only came about when politicians became involved in the major decision making process, using doctors and scientists only as pawns, in the game of political expediency. Politicians are like rotten potatoes. Wherever they show up, it does not take too long for their foul and repellent smells to drive people away. They are the least trusted of any professional group in society. And when you have divided political camps, one promoting the vaccine and the other discrediting it, with each backed by an army of well paid scientists to support its version of truth, how can the lay public believe anything that they say ? Most people, like I, love and trust our doctors and are willing to heed their advice and counsel for the improvement of our health. All that we ask is for politicians to stay out of our doctor and patient relationships. And there won’t be any more hesitancy at all in compliance with the doctors’ orders, as long as doctors are free from political pressures. That is not impossibly too much to ask.