The powers that be will never waste an opportunity to further reduce the rights of their subjects. With the threat of a coronavirus pandemic looming, the rights of those who may wish to refuse vaccines—even for other diseases—are in the crosshairs.
In an editorial republished by Yahoo! News, a pair of law and medical experts made the bold claim that the right to travel should not extend to un- or under-vaccinated people who wish to fly on commercial airlines.
This is pure, unadulterated totalitarianism on par with Nazi Germany, and the only reason it is being lent even an ounce of credence is the fear that has been successfully drummed up in the public’s hive mind regarding vaccinations.
In the op-ed, law professor Christopher Robertson and medicine, economics and health promotions science professor Keith Joiner, both of the University of Arizona, argue that airlines are petri dishes by design:
Air travel is a way to spread many virulent infectious diseases, including diphtheria, hepatitis A, influenza A and B, measles, mumps, meningococcus, rubella, tuberculosis, norovirus – the list goes on. In the U.S., airlines move more than two-and-a-half million people per day, squeezing them into long metal cylinders where all share the same air, the same restrooms, and take meals shoulder-to-shoulder for hours and hours.
There is no doubt that close contact, especially when prolonged, spreads contagion. This is true for respiratory droplets, direct skin contact, and sometimes, fecal or oral spread. Making matters much worse: Airlines, taking people from place to place, turn what might otherwise be local outbreaks into worldwide crises.
It’s hard to conceive a more efficient way to spread infectious disease.
Robertson and Joiner point out that both airline policy and federal law, in their opinion, already have a foundation upon which a travel ban for unvaccinated people could be built:
Clear legal authority exists to link a vaccination mandate to air travel. After 9-11, the courts emphasized that airlines are duty-bound to protect their passengers and those on the ground from risks. The CDC or Surgeon General could exercise authority to “make and enforce such regulations … to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.” Under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government indisputably has the power to act when regulating “channels of interstate commerce.” That includes the airlines.
What about the rights of individuals who refuse to vaccinate? Courts have long upheld vaccination mandates for schools, where close and prolonged contact is inevitable. Even though there is a “right to travel,” and there are laws protecting religious practices from government encroachment, our courts have explicitly declared vaccination is a government interest; they’ve upheld vaccine mandates for more than a century.
The pair also suggest making vaccines available at airports, as though they enable individuals to mount an effective immune response immediately—which they don’t.
A “longer-term term goal,” however, is to create a database of people who have been vaccinated, particularly to help smooth out responses to future seasonal flu episodes and epidemics.
While it’s commendable that the authors managed to write an entire article without denouncing vaccine-hesitant individuals as anti-science Google scholars, one can’t help but feel sickened that such a gross violation of basic human rights to bodily autonomy is so readily proposed.
The quarantine mandate banning unvaccinated people from all public places in Rockland County, New York should still be fresh in our memories. Rest assured, folks, this issue is not going away any time soon. Even if you do vaccinate, it will never be enough as each year seems to bring a new pandemic threat, another flu strain, or a new vaccine is added to the requirements for public schools.
We must never give up our most basic liberties, our right to our own inviolate bodies, for any measure of safety that is promised to us.