News & Politics

Debate Over Vaccine Mandate Arrives in Dr. Fauci's Backyard

Debate Over Vaccine Mandate Arrives in Dr. Fauci's Backyard
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

If you question the vaccine mandate, you’re an anti-science potato head who deserves to get COVID-19 and die. At least, that’s the impression left by some of those pushing the mandate as a sacrament in our new state religion.

If the mandate is considered a sacrament, then Dr. Antony Fauci might be seen as its patron saint. Fauci’s credibility deficit on anything relating to the coronavirus hardly leaves him in a position to tell anyone what they should do to protect themselves during the pandemic. But as the face of public health, he wields considerable influence.

For our VIPs: Have Americans Finally Soured on Fauci?

So there is a sense of poetic justice that a number of the 20,000 doctors, researchers, and lab workers at the National Institutes of Health are skeptical that a mandate is 1) ethical, 2) necessary, and 3) safe.

That’s the NIH we’re talking about — the organization under which Dr. Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases operates. These are the top scientists, biologists, and scientific researchers in the world. And many of them are vaccine mandate skeptics.

Who’s the potato head now?

Matthew Memoli, who runs a clinical studies unit within the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will take the lead in a roundtable next month to discuss the pros and cons of a mandate. Memoli is not anti-vaccine, but like many others, he is against a vaccine mandate. Memoli says he’s not been vaccinated.

Wall Street Journal:

“I think the way we are using the vaccines is wrong,” he said. In a July 30 email to Dr. Fauci and two of his lieutenants, Dr. Memoli called mandated vaccination “extraordinarily problematic.” He says one of Dr. Fauci’s colleagues thanked him for his email. Dr. Fauci and a NIAID spokeswoman declined to comment.

Dr. Memoli said he supports Covid-19 vaccination in high-risk populations including the elderly and obese. But he argues that with existing vaccines, blanket vaccination of people at low risk of severe illness could hamper the development of more-robust immunity gained across a population from infection.

The roundtable discussion — called “Grand Rounds” in the medical community — will include bioethicists like Christine Grady, head of the NIH’s Clinical Center bioethics department. Grady also happens to be married to Dr. Fauci, which makes one wonder what kind of pillow talk goes on in that bedroom.

Dr. Memoli’s views, and his status as an unvaccinated doctor, make him an outlier inside and outside the NIH. More than 88% of the NIH’s federal employees were fully vaccinated at the end of October, according to the agency. The rest will need to prove they are vaccinated, or have sought an exemption, before a federal deadline of Nov. 22.

Dr. Memoli has sought an exemption from the NIH mandate and has applied for an exception, on religious grounds, from requirements imposed by health authorities in Washington, D.C., where he is licensed to practice medicine. He says he is willing to risk his job and his license for the right not to receive a Covid-19 shot.

Why must people risk their jobs and careers simply because they disagree with the dominant medical opinion of the time? Memoli is a respected and honored researcher. He will receive a 2021 NIH director’s award, a top recognition from the head of the agency, for his supervision of a study into “undiagnosed Covid-19 cases early in the pandemic,” according to the Journal.

“I do vaccine trials. I, in fact, help create vaccines,” he said. “Part of my career is to share my expert opinions, right or wrong. … I mean, if they all end up saying I’m wrong, that’s fine. I want to have the discussion,” said Memoli.

It won’t make any difference to those who seek to stifle any and all dissent against the mandate in the interest of “public health.”