Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter to the School Superintendent and the Board of Health

~ Submitted by Patrick Murphy

All across our country, we are seeing thousands of workers being fired, punished, or forced to receive a vaccine against their will in the name of public safety. I, for one, do not want to live in a community where personal health choices are grounds for losing your job, especially when that involves being forced to get a vaccine that has been proven to not benefit overall public safety from the Covid-19 virus.

The CDC’s website advises that vaccinated individuals are still able to contract Covid-19 and most importantly to my point, that they can still spread Covid-19 to others (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html).  The vaccine thankfully is able to greatly reduce the risk of death and hospitalization, which is amazing and speaks for itself for older people or others who may be more at risk.  However, because the virus can still be spread by vaccinated people, instituting a vaccine mandate is unnecessary to the public health and to the safety of children.  This needs to extend from the private sector to our public workers, including our teachers, custodians, police, firefighters, public works employees, custodians, librarians, and all the other people who make our community such a great place to live.

We know from multiple scientific studies and from the CDC itself, that the Covid-19 virus poses a nearly zero deadly risk to children under 18.  I have seen the argument posed repeatedly that a vaccine mandate in schools would be meant to protect the unvaccinated children; however, the science clearly shows that this is not necessary given children’s ability to fight the virus.  Similarly, vaccinated adults are protected from serious illness or death if they were to experience a breakthrough case.

I would encourage you to research the case rates in the general population, as well as the hospitalization and death rates among the different age groups.  I have and the rates for serious illness and death are staggeringly low for children, particularly in Middlesex County.

I urge the School Superintendent not to mandate the Covid-19 vaccine for staff, and likewise urge the Board of Health to reconsider its recommendations for vaccine mandates in general.

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  1. Dear Patrick,

    It saddens me that so many people have these same thoughts and think they are good arguments against getting vaccinated against a deadly disease that has caused a global pandemic that, in a little over 18 months, has killed more people in this country than all of our Nation’s war’s combined. And the fact that you feel so strongly as to publish this in the newspaper is, in it of itself, a strong argument FOR vaccine mandates.

    You know the right thing to do, but for some reason you are too scared to do it. If you are concerned for the health of your family and those around you, you will just do the right thing.

    If you are more concerned with the risk to yourself, the risk of dying from COVID (2%) or being hospitalized from COVID (currently 91,000 cases/day and 66,000 in the hospital) compared to getting some serious freak reaction to the vaccine (0.6%) is orders of magnitude different. It’s not even close.

    “But 2% isn’t a big number”, you might say, but consider that in a Nation of 330M, if everyone gets COVID, we’re looking at 6.6M deaths! 6.6M! Where have we seen a number like that before?

    Public Health is the science of keeping a populous healthy and disease free. Public health experts do not frame the problem in the same way as your doctor, who is only concerned with the patient’s health. (btw, ask your doctor if you should get the vaccine and see what they say). So from a public health point of view, the only way to diminish or stop the spread and mutation of the virus is to get *everyone* vaccinated. When everyone is vaccinated, the likelihood of transmission is greatly reduced and the likelihood of further transmission is reduced even more. So yes, while the chance is still there, being vaccinated is WAY better for the group. That group can be our little town of Bedford, the Northeast, or the entire nation. And if people are resisting doing the patriotic and moral thing, then they need to be told to do it.

    When we found the cure for smallpox there wasn’t this kind of backlash. When we found the cure for polio there wasn’t this kind of backlash, heck kids were getting vaccinated at school, so why is there so much backlash now?

    Please, for the sake of our community please get vaccinated and encourage your family to get vaccinated too.

  2. Well, this is contradictory drivel. Personal health choices, and passing a drug test, are _already_ grounds for gaining and sometimes keeping a job in the private sector. And it’s pretty bold to say that the vaccine doesn’t “benefit public safety” in the first paragraph, and then cite that it reduces “the risk of death and hospitalization” in the second.

    It’s misleading to say that the only risk and worry is death. What about Long Covid? Around 25% of folks who get sick, stay sick. I’d be a lousy parent if I _wasn’t_ concerned about my child staying ill for decades to come.

    If I call 911 and a paramedic appears at my door for a homebound medical emergency, I don’t want to have to ask them to mask up because I’m unsure if they’re vaccinated. If I get pulled over on The Great Road for a traffic violation, I shouldn’t have to worry about getting Covid along with ticket. If my kid is in school (and can’t be vaccinated due to age), then they shouldn’t have to fret about getting sick from a substitute teacher or the random person fixing the printer in the library. And on the flip side, none of those public employees should have to worry either.

    Look: there are tons of “personal” medical decisions that you can make: aspirin or tylenol for the headache? hard cast or air boot for the broken bone? Is this the year to finally get that lower GI scope?

    But a vaccine? Vaccination isn’t in the same category. It’s a community standard by which we all should live, so that those who _can’t_ for legit medical reasons don’t have to worry. The only personal bit about the vaccination is choosing the brand: Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J.

    But getting one, period? That shouldn’t be up for debate. We all should know better by now – just like we do for measels, mumps, polio, and so many others.

    I urge the superintendent and Board of Health to enact vaccine mandates for _every_ town employee. It’s the right thing to do.

  3. Well said! Thank you for taking the time to write this letter. I completely agree and hope our superintendent of schools as well as the board of health choose not to strong arm people into getting the vaccine. Let people make medical decisions based on personal conversations with their doctors without being worried about losing their job.

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