Sen. Stacey Guerin discusses plans and concerns surrounding potential COVID-19 vaccines
Hello, I am Senator Stacey Guerin of District 10.
The announcement this week that at least two major pharmaceutical companies have come close to producing vaccines to fight COVID-19 raises a number of questions that my colleagues and I in the Legislature will soon have to address.
First, it should make all of us uneasy that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is short-circuiting the usual approval process in order to rush these vaccines to market. Shortening the normal approval process opens the door for vaccines that are not fully proven to be reliable, effective, or safe.
With these mostly-untested vaccines coming online in the next few months, several key questions need to be addressed. Chief among these is whether the government intends to make these vaccinations mandatory for any part or all of the population of our state.
There are clear signs that making vaccines compulsory is the ultimate goal and plan. Already, the legal framework is being put in place.
This coming Monday, the Maine Center for Disease Control will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to Chapter 264 of the rules known as “Immunization Requirements for Healthcare Workers.”
One of these rule changes will “add seasonal influenza to the list of vaccine preventable diseases for which designated healthcare facility employees must show proof of immunization.”
In other words, health care workers will now be required to get a flu shot every year if they want to keep their jobs.
Another part of this new proposal would add “public health threat and extreme public health emergency” to the language of these rules, allowing the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to require forced immunizations during health emergencies such as global pandemics.
While nothing in this document reveals the administration’s plans about whether or not it intends to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory, it has justified similar past actions such as mandatory mask wearing under the threat of the virus.
Recently, Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah tweeted something that was very revealing. He lamented that the state’s “positivity rate” was now the same as it was on July 8.
He may not have realized it, but July 8 is the day that Governor Mills issued her Executive Order requiring businesses to enforce the mandatory mask-wearing rules.
His notice of the date reveals that in relation to COVID-19, we are no better off today than we were just before Gov. Mills’ mask order went into effect. After four months of wearing masks, we are no better off than we were before the order that required them.
Widespread wearing of masks has not led us to a better place against the virus. In fact, we are now worse than we have ever been and we lead the nation in the rate of infection.
According to the public hearing announcement, “Rule changes are proposed to clarify the Department’s authority to impose control measures.”
That is it in a nutshell. Rather than seriously analyzing data and making sound decisions about public health, Governor Mills and her administration are looking for the “Authority to impose control.”
With each mandatory behavior that is imposed by our government we lose more and more of our personal freedoms and civil liberties.
Again, I am Senator Stacey Guerin of District 10. Rest assured that I will stand fast in my opposition to the overreaching efforts of our state government, including the forced injection of a largely untested chemical into my body.