I have written 5 blogs on the attempts by the Victorian government to force workers to ‘get the jab’ or ‘lose your job’. In my opinion there are good arguments that these attempts are unlawful.
Not only are they are blunt instrument, there are questions about their compliance with the statutory regime under which they are issued.
Nevertheless, I hear that the government’s attempts are encouraging employers to impose their own mandatory vaccination policies, without regard to proper risk assessments or human rights or the rights of employees. I know of a few examples where this is happening.
It may be that employers feel emboldened to mandate vaccinations, because if the Chief Health Officer can do it, they think they can do it.
What if the Chief Health Officer can’t do it?
And what if some or many of the employers can’t do it, even if the Chief Health Officer can?
Today I post about two things. In Part 5.1, I examine some of the text of the Directions.
Commonwealth Government advice on vaccinations
Here, I look at some of the Commonwealth Government’s advice about the risks of vaccination, including references to people who should not take certain vaccinations.
I argue that the Commonwealth Government’s generic health advice to the public is a valid source of information for those deciding whether to self-vaccinate or not.
Is that so controversial?
And it’s worth noting that a government (like the Commonwealth Government) can be pro-vaccines for society as a whole, but the government can still enable individuals (even if only 10-20% of the population) to make up their own minds and choose not to take a particular vaccine, based on health advice from that same government.
The Victorian Mandatory Vaccination Directions issued today (22 October 2021) contain very limited exceptions for people with very specific medical preconditions. They don’t contain exemptions for religious reasons, conscientious objections, or medical concerns. And they don’t allow the nuances of the Commonwealth government’s advice to be considered by an individual.
But in this post I am just looking at medical concerns.
Some people are concerned about the risk of vaccinations
The State government Directions are called CHO Directions (Chief Health Officer).
There are a number of people with genuine health concerns which are not accommodated by the CHO Directions at all. There’s no flexibility. No allowance to consider the real risks of one individual in one workplace remaining unvaccinated. No allowance to enable a person to assess their own risk and decide not to self-vaccinate.
When you look at the Commonwealth Government’s medical advice, you can see that there are real and rational risks that some people may choose to take into account when deciding not to vaccinate. Some of those risks are “theoretically” real, and nobody anywhere can prove that they don’t exist.
If you are vaccinated, and you think people should get vaccinated, that’s fine as a public policy position.
But when you start judging individuals who may well have individual health concerns, that’s another matter.
If we want to judge those who choose not to get the jab, on an individual basis, we should stand in their shoes for a little while, and be prepared to tell them “get the jab, you will be fine, I guarantee it”, or “I’ll compensate you, no matter what happens”.
So when someone tells me they have had a blood clot issue before, or an adverse reaction to a flu shot, or a serious heart condition, and they don’t want to get ‘the jab’, I respect their decision on a personal level.
And when those people go to a GP and ask, “can you personally guarantee I will be fine?” they are likely to be told “no”.
And then, if you choose to self-vaccinate, knowing the risks, then you have voluntarily consented to the process.
And you may well decide that the risks to you personally are outweighed by the benefits to society as a whole, and you then get vaccinated.
But some people are so concerned about their medical situation that they are not prepared to take the risk of getting a vaccination. The Commonwealth Government has recognised that people have a right to choose for many months now.
Here are some real risks that the Commonwealth Government recognises.
Pfizer risks recognised by the Government
Have a look at the Guidance on Myocarditis and Pericarditis after mRNA Covid-19 vaccines. This is an Australian Government publication. It starts: “The following guidance has been developed jointly by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ).”
It says as follows:
Importantly, myorcarditis is also a possible complication of Covid-19.
ATAGI and CSANZ emphasise that the overwhelming benefits of vaccination using an mRNA vaccine in protecting individuals against COVID-19 and its serious outcomes such as hospitalisation and death as well as the wider benefits of reducing spread of the disease in the community, greatly outweigh the rare risk of myocarditis or pericarditis after vaccination.
There is a theoretical concern that patients with (certain) conditions may be at increased risk of developing myocarditis and/or pericarditis after a dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, although there is no evidence to confirm this at present.
I highlighted the part in red, to emphasise that the recommendation being given (to get vaccinated) is a recommendation that takes into account the benefit to the whole community – so if people are prepared to take a personal risk for the benefit of society, that is something they are entitled (and encouraged) to do.
But the Guidance document acknowledges risks. It means, according to the Government, and the Cardiac Society, that there are risks of taking the mRNA vaccine which some people may choose to take into account.
Measuring those risks, or proving them, may not be possible at this time.
But a lack of evidence does not mean there is no risk.
And people may choose to follow the Government’s acknowledgment of risk and decide not to get vaccinated.
Astra Zeneca risks recognised by the Government
The Australian Government has published material on the risks of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. It is called Information on Covid-19 Vaccination Astra Zeneca.
It says as follows:
Astra Zeneca appears to be linked with a very rare side effect called Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS).
TTS involves blood clots (thrombosis) and low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia), and
occurs around 4 to 42 days after vaccination.
It can lead to long term disability or death.
There are other government documents which set out tables showing the risk of getting TTS from AZ vs the risk of dying from Covid. Different age groups and genders have different risk profiles. Some of the tables are here.
ATAGI recommends that some people not get the vaccine. For example, people with history of capillary leak syndrome; or people with specific blood conditions.
If you have a bleeding disorder or you are taking a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant),
tell your immunisation provider. Your immunisation provider can help determine whether it is safe for
you to have an intramuscular injection and help to decide the best timing for injection.
That means that ATAGI acknowledges you might make a decision in consultation with your immunisation provider as to whether it is safe to get an injection.
I look at the medical exemptions given in the CHO Directions issued today.
They do not reflect all of the risks which are acknowledged by the Commonwealth Government.
That means the Chief Health Officer (Acting) has been happy to dictate mandatory vaccinations – or lose your job – without allowing you to properly assess the Commonwealth Government’s recommendations as to risk profiles for the various vaccines.
And without you being able to discuss with your doctor what is best for you.
How can this be right?
What am I missing here?