Can (Indian) Government Force Citizens to Vaccinate against Covid-19?

We are entering the last months of the tumultuous year of 2020 and the Covid-19 Pandemic is still with us. As I am writing, the total number of worldwide cases have crossed 15 million mark which actually is nothing, 0.19% of total 7.8 billion world population, when we consider all the hype created around this pandemic and all the unprecedented draconian policy actions, which have now destroyed the world economy and society, being taken world around by different governments under its excuse. Total global death numbers are even smaller, some 630,313 people, than those case numbers and in most countries the death numbers are now declining as we reach the threshold of herd immunity. In India also total number of cases are some 1.2 million out of total population of 1.38 billion people which is just 0.09% of total population; deaths are similarly very low, just 29,890 people, compared to the population of India. If the virus is so deadly as it is being portrayed by the media and government health officials then it would’ve wiped out millions of Indians by now but no such thing has happened.

Notwithstanding above given facts, governments and its unelected health czars are hell bent of utilizing this crisis to enhance their stranglehold on people. Big Pharmaceutical  companies are, as usual, looking to make billions of dollars selling vaccines and drugs which no one knows whether save or kill Covid-19 patients. In their next move to strengthen their stranglehold over our lives, government officials world over are planning to vaccinate billions of people forcefully. A recent article in The Print talks about such policy maneuverings of the Indian government to force Indians to take the possible future Covid-19 vaccine shots. In this article I am going to logically analyze the basic arguments presented to justify this massive forced vaccination program. Below I quote these arguments which will be followed by my analysis.

Any step towards compulsory vaccination has to be premised on larger public interest. While a person may feel confident about not requiring vaccination because she believes she can fight off the disease, it will not stop her from infecting others who might be from high-risk category. Thus, vaccination in relation to infectious diseases is not simply about choosing what is good for one’s own body and can be construed as an obligation for the sake of public health. (Emphasize mine)

This type of reasoning is that dangerous slippery slope which takes us in the direction of totalitarianism and ensuing misery and death. Because any step towards compulsory vaccination has to be premised on the concept of larger public interest it is important for us to logically scrutinize this idea of public interest. Merely saying “pubic interest” doesn’t justify anything let alone such massive violation of basic human rights of billions of people. Public interest is a very foggy idea without any kind of clear cut definition. Online legal dictionary defines it as, Anything affecting the rights, health, or finances of the public at large. But what is the meaning of “public at large”? What is the meaning of public itself? What is the meaning of at large? How large? Who is this public in whose name such massive forced vaccination programs are being designed by the state officials? Just little logical analysis of this concept immediately exposes its fatal flaws. If public means we all 1.38 billion inhabitants of India, which it logically implies, then the whole idea of forcing individual members of the public to take this vaccine against their wishes to supposedly save the public, of which he himself is a part, is a blatant logical contradiction in terms. Forcing that individual is the very harm to that very public interest that the state is trying to protect! How can the government harm and protect public interest at the same time? That is a logical and practical impossibility. As my ongoing analysis shows, public and its interest are two mythical concepts and actually what is really implied here is interest of different groups of people in society. There is no one public and its interest that the government needs to safe guard. Any society is divided into different groups of individuals and government supposedly tries to safe guard one or few groups’ interest at the cost of interest of other groups. Getting the clarity of this point immediately changes the whole basis of discussion from safe guarding some mythical public interest to safe guarding one group of people from another. Whose interest the government is going to serve via such forced vaccination becomes the important question in this case. To understand this we need to look at the data of Covid-19 pandemic. We all know that not everyone is vulnerable against Covid-19. A comprehensive study carried out by British Researchers, with a  sample of 17 million people, shows that the groups of people most at risk are, old male with underlying health issues like diabetes, asthma, hypertension, cancer, heart disease etc., which have compromised their immune system which is the key in fighting Coronavirus invasion inside body. Everyone except these groups of people are not at any significant risk against Covid-19 and they don’t need any kind of vaccination because their body will fight this virus naturally. What is the percentage of such at risk population in India? Close to 6% of Indian population is above age 65. Out of this more than half are female and female are less vulnerable. We do not have any readily available data about the percentage of population that is having those underlying illnesses in this age group but surely that number is even lesser. So for approximately 1% or 2% of Indian population the government will force 98% to take vaccine shots? Even if we take the definition of public interest as a larger proportion of the population then also forcing 98% of population for the sake of 2% of population doesn’t justify any forced vaccination program. What would be more desired is to properly quarantining this small population of vulnerable people until we reach herd immunity naturally, which would’ve been done by now if the initial draconian lockdown was not imposed by the government. If someone will say that quarantining those millions of vulnerable people is not possible in India and so vaccine is needed then that argument only shows the failure of the government health care system which has failed horribly in protecting the Indian public. And that will negate any pro vaccination argument also. This argument in no way can be used to justify the forced vaccination program.

Notwithstanding the utilitarian definition of public interest at large and a morality based on that norm of utilitarianism, real ethical science based on natural law dictates that no individual is harmed to benefit someone else. Justice demands that we do not harm someone to help someone else. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is always morally wrong. This and above analysis show that the excuse of public interest can never be used to justify any forced vaccination program. From natural law ethics perspective public interest criteria fails completely and even from the flawed utilitarian perspective it fails totally.

Neither ethical nor social welfare economic efficiency argument can justify such program of forced vaccination. The economic efficiency criteria of social welfare is the famous criteria of Pareto optimality and it tells us the same thing that social welfare is only achieved when society can become better off without making anyone worse off. Government’s forced vaccination program will fail horribly in satisfying this criteria also because it will make millions worse off to make few people better off.

Another important issue here is, what if some people die, which is highly likely given the history of vaccines, after getting vaccine shots? Will there be a provision to punish the government officials and their health experts in the event of any death or damage to life because of vaccine? Will there also be laws to convict and hang public officials and such unelected health czars in case of vaccine related death? Justice demands that such laws be in place. And if such laws are not going to be in place then the whole idea of forced vaccination is an exercise of hypocrisy and blatant use of political power of these state officials.

Another way the governments can enforce compulsory vaccination is to impose high costs on refusing vaccination without necessarily making it illegal. For example, under the Passport Act of 1967, the government can either refuse the issuance of a passport or revoke an issued passport in relation to any person who refuses to be vaccinated. In relation to immunisation for Covid-19, the government can explain its action on the grounds of maintaining friendly relations with other countries or in the interest of general public. The government can also impose restrictions on accessing public employment or create disqualifications to accessing welfare benefits in the absence of vaccination.

The central government can impose a requirement of vaccination on anybody wishing to enter India. For example, resident-nationals from polio-infected countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, etc. are not allowed to enter India unless they have been vaccinated. The United States also imposes such requirements in relation to a variety of diseases. So, nothing can stop the government from imposing a requirement of Covid-19 vaccination for anybody wishing to enter India.

All these fancy arguments automatically fail because the underlying premise of public interest itself fails to justify government’s forced vaccination program. Governments have no moral or legal authority to impose any high cost on anyone to enforce their totalitarian policy of forced vaccination. They do not have any legal authority because governments were created, as per the original but flawed logic of minimum government, to protect the life, liberty and property of its citizens, and citizens mean everyone and not some groups of citizens only. Historically speaking, constitution was designed to limit the government powers so that no government official can misuse that vast power to abuse citizens. Constitution does not give us any Rights or Liberty. They both are God given and it is the job of the government to make sure that they both are protected. Government in no way can be justified in violating those very Rights and Liberty that they are required to protect by their very own Law of the land.

Conclusion

The most important problem today that the humanity faces is not Covid-19 pandemic which is not at all deadly as can be seen from all the data. The important and urgent problem today is this tremendous amounts of powers that the system of State is enjoying everywhere. How did this happen? When did we allow these politicians and their unelected experts to dictate our lives so much that they so easily think of forcefully vaccinating billions of people? This issue requires real urgent introspection. This totalitarian government should be our biggest worry today, and not a disease which has a mortality rate of just 0.01%, which has infected just 0.19% of world population and which very likely is going to disappear on its own without any need of vaccination.

And, most importantly, this system of the State which itself is a parasitic gang of criminals and immoral root and branch can’t possibly be thought of or allowed to save public from this pandemic. Putting governments in charge of lives of people is like putting fox in charge of a hen house.

If nothing, Covid-19 Pandemic and the following historic outreach of state powers must warn all good people of the world that they are under attack from the evil forces of power and fear mongers. Resisting these forces of evil is now a fundamental necessity and duty.

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One thought on “Can (Indian) Government Force Citizens to Vaccinate against Covid-19?

  1. Ragha says:

    A Totalitarian govt is a bigger threat to human freedom, rights, civil liberties & health than any pandemic.The most dangerous words in the world are “we are from the govt & we are here to help”. We all know how that goes.

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