By John Krull
INDIANAPOLIS—Even what is perhaps the most conservative U.S. Supreme Court in this nation’s history has had enough of the anti-vaccine crowd’s nonsense.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose conservative credentials are impeccable, declined to have the high bench hear a challenge from eight Indiana University students who are upset about the school’s decision to require staff and students either get the COVID-19 vaccine or wear masks.
Barrett’s refusal meant that not one Supreme Court justice thought the students’ arguments had any merit whatsoever. In fact, Barrett didn’t even ask the university’s lawyers to present a counter argument.
The anti-vaxxers’ arguments failed and fell all on their own.
But perhaps it’s not fair even to call them “arguments.” To label something an argument in the legal sense suggests that it has some basis in fact, law or logic.
The anti-vaxxers’ case had none.
Stripped to its core, their position was that an individual has no obligation ever to make any compromises or concessions to public safety or the public good. “My body, my choice” has become their mantra.
By that reasoning, near-sighted and plagued with astigmatisms as I am, I have no duty to wear my glasses or contact lenses when I slide behind the wheel of a car. I should be allowed to Mr. Magoo my way over streets, sidewalks and people’s lawns, regardless of the massive damage to other people and property I might do along the way.
My body, my choice, right?
The Supreme Court’s curt dismissal of the anti-vaccine contention followed a statement from a federal appeals court that the students should stop wasting the court’s time.
That tracks with a growing sense on the part of the public that this foolishness must come to an end. Polls show that most Americans—some showing numbers as high as 70%—hold the anti-vaxxers responsible for prolonging the coronavirus pandemic. (The other culprits Americans find guilty are conversative news media and former President Donald Trump.)
Many companies now are requiring employees to be vaccinated. Insurance companies also are exploring options that would allow them to charge people who refuse to be vaccinated higher premiums than those who have been vaccinated.
This all stands to reason.
The facts regarding the vaccine now are incontrovertible. It works.
More than 99% of the people now dying from the deadly delta variant of COVID-19 have not been vaccinated. The surge in hospitalizations across the country due to new coronavirus cases can be attributed to the determination of a significant but willful minority of Americans to ignore evidence, refuse vaccination and put others at risk.
More than 90 million Americans who are eligible for vaccines have not gotten them. This has made it impossible for the United States to achieve the herd immunity necessary for Americans to resume anything resembling normal life and activity.
In other words, the anti-vaxxers’ own actions are preventing them from achieving the very thing they say they want the most—a return to normalcy.
Their reasons for refusing are nothing short of idiotic.
They contend that the vaccine hasn’t been tested.
Nearly 2.5 billion people on the planet have received the vaccine. The instances in which people have had adverse reactions to the shots have been rare. Virtually all of those have been people who had other serious and complicating health conditions.
The anti-vaxxers also say they worry about lingering side effects. This demonstrates that they just don’t know how a vaccine works.
The vaccine itself dissipates from the body quickly after the shot—often within two or three days. Its purpose is to stimulate the body’s own antibodies, which linger and create a natural defense against the virus.
The chances that the vaccine will have long-term damaging side effects are about as great as those of an ice cube remaining solid when it’s left out in the sun on a 100-degree day.
Those are facts. That’s science. That’s reality.
And that’s why the U.S. Supreme Court said it had heard enough nonsense from the ignorance-is-virtue crowd.
In this instance, the court spoke for most Americans.
John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.