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Flawed Fiat 7: Just one question for Adrian Gore

Part #7 – An open letter to Discovery founder and CEO Adrian Gore

(Read Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6)

As a fellow runner, I spot Adrian Gore out jogging from time to time. Each is a reminder to press him again for a response to my Covid vaccine mandate questions.

[I respect the sanctity of the jog too much to hassle the fellow.]

My letters thus far have been voluminous, sometimes to a fault. Here I pose just one question, and present one line of evidence.

Dear Adrian

I submit the following:

  1. If a vaccine does not limit the spread of a virus, it is purely an individual choice to take it or not;
  2. Evidence on the current Covid vaccines is strong enough to conclude (in the provisional way we conclude anything in science) that they do not limit spread;
  3. To force your staff to take the vaccine therefore infringes a number of their rights to bodily integrity, which I suggest includes the right to choose one’s medical treatment;

If the above hold, I argue that you ought to take the only sensible leadership step of rescinding your vaccine mandate. I reckon it will earn you justifiable praise. It’ll be brave.

Let’s start with “individual choice”, my key premise. Do you agree that if vaccines do not limit spread, whether an employee takes it or not is outside your realm of legitimate control?

The only reason for the mandate could be to demand people take a medical intervention that has an impact on their personal risk.

Of course, one’s own personal risk-taking can have an impact on colleagues and the business. That is one consideration. But it does not begin to justify limiting the well-established and sacred right to choose one’s medical treatment in consultation with a doctor.

To reduce it to absurdity, I may choose to ride my motorcycle to a skydiving expedition every Sunday, followed by a greasy breakfast. I may drink 5 Cokes a day and occasionally tweak the nose hairs of a Brahman bull in heat. Heck, I may volunteer at a tuberculosis clinic, go camping in a malaria area and try WWE wrestling moves at home.

I haven’t done the calculations, but I imagine this might risk my life more than Covid. Consider data from the UK ONS Statistics. This shows what I’d call negligible deaths for youngsters over the course of a year in England and Wales.  The “Under 65” column is striking.

Regardless, will you agree that any one of the above activities – indeed, even the whole set – is entirely not something you have the right to know about or to enforce a change in? That applies whether I’m an employee, contractor or just a visitor to your building. And irrespective of how foolish they may be.

Now, applying this framework. Here’s evidence that vaccines do not limit spread.

1. UK Health Security Agency

For months, the UKHSA has found a higher case rate among vaccinated than unvaccinated in England. This has variously included and excluded those younger than 30 and older than 80. Here is the report for the last couple of weeks in 2021. Every age group above 18 is getting Covid at a higher rate if vaccinated.

Here is the full set of reports.

Here is the visual.

This is a large sample, taken from the official government body for public health in England (making the UK portion a misnomer, as far as I can tell), and has been fairly consistent for months on end, only varying at the margins.

*For now I’ll ignore the reason and the irresistible thesis that these vaccines are increasing the rate of spread. That is for another time.

2. And crazy Canada

Evidence out of Canada demonstrates lack of effectiveness of vaccines at preventing spread. Fully vaccinated people are getting Covid at a higher rate than anyone else. Partially vaccinated are getting it at a higher rate than unvaccinated.

3. USA

CDC data show that higher vaccination rates by state do not result in lower case rates.

They seemed to be helping a few months ago. But no longer.

The chart below is constructed from CDC data:

4. One study out of Harvard has shown no reduction in cases as vaccination rates increase in a population. This was across a sample of 68 countries and nearly 3,000 US counties.In fact, the line tends upwards. The authors don’t say this is statistically significant. The eyeball test says it might just be.

In fact, the line tends upwards. The authors don’t say this is statistically significant. The eyeball test says it might just be.

5. McKinsey finds something similar. This time vaccination rates are on the Y-axis and cases on the X-axis. Again, this resembles some sort of multicoloured paintball shotgun scatter.  

So:

Adrian, will you agree there is strong evidence that vaccines do not have any limiting effect on the spread of Covid?

Based on my framing above, will you agree that this makes vaccine mandates impermissible?

Solutioning:

It’s too easy just to break things down. Here I’ll try to inject some solutioning.

“Follow the science” has been rather bastardised of late. I’ll attempt to capture the proper essence here with some different wording.

I recommend revisiting good scientific evidence, as developed over time, and acknowledging that vaccine mandates are not useful or permissible.

I’d be much obliged to get your thoughts. Difficult debate is the way through this thing.

Regards,

Ian Macleod

Ian Macleod

Ian Macleod

Ian Macleod studied business science at the University of Cape Town, and journalism at Rhodes University. He completed his MBA at the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in 2017. Ian's career has spanned from feature writing for magazines to consulting at a big four professional services firm. Currently he divides his time between two consulting roles, one in a quasi-academic capacity and the other to investment firms in the novel field of narrative economics.

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