In Hindsight: The Heartbreak & Tragedy Of The Vaccine Mandates
At the end of 2021, my trauma clinic began to be overwhelmed by a new category of clients: those traumatised by the government COVID vaccine mandate. Here are some of the stories...
**The author is fully vaccinated and has widely advocated the importance of COVID vaccination for consenting adults**
A dignified older lady who brings immense kindness, gentleness and compassion to the care of others in life crisis. She has transcended her own immense trauma and suffering to bring healing to others. She lost the job she loved because her boss insists on the COVID vaccination as a condition of employment.
Her previous trauma and medical experiences made her deeply fearful of the vaccine. The callous nature of the vaccine mandate and her complete sense of powerlessness means her old trauma is now being re-triggered. These are the heart wrenching feelings she shared with me, as tears ran down her face: “I feel discarded, trashed, punished, blamed, dirty, contaminated, irresponsible, useless, worthless.” I felt like crying with her. She was heartbroken, wounded, betrayed, trapped and helpless. It was horrible to witness this relapse in someone who had done so much healing.
Another client had suffered two months of heart palpitations, fear, panic, confusion, disturbed sleep, inescapable stress and exhaustion since the first dose of the COVID vaccine. Her childhood trauma of being forcibly vaccinated has been re-triggered: the terror of being overpowered and held down by adults, screaming and crying, while she was hurt with a needle.
She bravely overcame her intense fear of having the first dose but woke the next morning in a panic attack, her heart racing, feeling like she was dying. This feeling has never gone away. She was paralysed by the thought of having the second dose but would lose her beloved career as a teacher if she is not fully vaccinated. Her application for vaccine exemption, on the basis of severe reaction to the first dose, had been dismissed. Her doctor says her reaction is not real, she is just 'anxious'.
Without therapy, this young woman was heading for lifelong severe disability, PTSD, chronic physical health issues, and an inability to work – even if she was allowed to. Sadly, doctors are not trained in trauma so her doctor has no understanding of her condition, or of the profound health consequences.
I could go on.
The majority of my workload at the end of 2021 was comprised of clients traumatised by the vaccine, the vaccine mandate, or the loss of career and financial security. Fortunately, I am able to help these clients erase their trauma, heal their pain, and restore a sense of self-worth. But for many, our overwhelmed mental health service offered little help.
These are the definitions of 'abuse' in the Cambridge Dictionary:
“To use something for the wrong purpose in a way that is harmful or morally wrong; to treat someone cruelly or violently.”
For those with prior trauma, the vaccine mandate was state-sanctioned abuse. The hallmark of trauma is feeling utterly powerless or trapped. Not only did the state use extreme power and sweep aside the universal human right to refuse medical treatment, the remedy was also removed.
A patient’s own doctor no longer had the authority to make the best judgment about the medical care of their patients. All previous medical exemptions were invalidated and the patient had to apply to a national committee. The Government made clear that almost nobody would be granted an exemption.
The sheer callousness and inhumanity of the Government’s action left me almost without words to describe how I felt. For many of my Maori friends and colleagues, this trauma and confiscation of personal rights opened up the wounds of colonisation all over again.
The Miriam-Webster dictionary of ‘gaslighting’ is:
“Psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.”
That is exactly how it feels when a traumatised person is forcibly vaccinated and suffers a severe reaction, and when the reality of their reaction is dismissed by doctors as being 'not real', or 'in your head', or merely 'psychosomatic'.
To add insult to injury, a state of inescapable stress leads to severe compromise of the immune system. These clients were more likely to get infected with COVID and even if vaccinated, their antibody response will have been substantially lowered.
No public health policy is without harm; we accept that individual rights must sometimes be sacrificed for the greater good. But when we take such drastic actions, we must have compelling evidence of the benefits of the regulation. Sadly, the science of virus transmission, of vaccination, and of public health measures suggested otherwise. There was every chance that mandating the vaccine may actually cause more COVID deaths, not fewer. When you lose the trust of the public, you also lose compliance with essential public health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing.
The current vaccines did little to slow the spread of COVID, even before the Omicron variant emerged, and data from the UK at that time showed a higher rate of COVID cases among the vaccinated than the unvaccinated.
The Lancet reported (19th November 2021),“Between weeks 39 and 42, a total of 100,160 COVID-19 cases were reported among citizens of 60 years or older. 89,821 occurred among the fully vaccinated (89.7%), and 3,395 among the unvaccinated. One week before, the COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 was higher among the subgroup of the vaccinated compared to the subgroup of the unvaccinated in all age groups of 30 years or more.”
While COVID vaccines continue to provide high levels of protection against serious illness, and greatly reduced our national burden of hospitalisations and deaths, in the long run, they have done almost nothing to stop the spread of coronavirus. The vaccine mandate made a marginal difference to the total number of people vaccinated and slightly reduced the demand in our hospitals.
In all other respects, the Government’s argument that the mandates were essential to “protect the public” was demonstrably false. All of the medical journals were openly publishing their data on the unfolding COVID pandemic and rates of transmission. Any doctor who was curious could quickly establish that the propaganda put forward by the government, medical leaders and the media was without scientific foundation. As a doctor and former advisor to the WHO on patient safety, I was shocked beyond measure by the lies being told.
As a nation, we began our response to the COVID pandemic as 'a team of five million' and people showed huge levels of personal responsibility to work together and protect public safety. If accurate and honest data about the benefits and limitations of COVID vaccination had been shared openly, I believe that a very high proportion of the population would have consented to vaccination and the ‘anti-vaccine’ groups would have had little energy or influence. But the government instead chose authoritarian measures that profoundly harmed our communities.
To have imposed such harm on vulnerable populations, in the absence of benefit, is immoral. To segregate a portion of the population and withdraw their rights to employment, to get a haircut, to enter a public library or swimming pool, to exclude them from participation in any social gathering, is to do profound harm to the fabric and the values of our nation.
Did I support the COVID vaccine for consenting adults? Yes, absolutely.
Did I support the vaccine mandate? No, I look back on it as an unforgivable, ignorant and shameful episode in our nation’s history. I hope one day we can have an honest national inquiry in to the national response to the COVID pandemic, and acknowledge the harm done.
Dr Robin Youngson is a retired anaesthetist, and former international leader in healthcare quality and safety, who now works full-time as a trauma therapist.