Media Roundup, 9/17/21
My lawsuit against the University of California challenging their vaccine mandate received some attention in the national media recently
Here’s a brief roundup of some of the recent media coverage.
I was a guest on Fox News with Shannon Bream discussing natural immunity vs. vaccine immunity, vaccine mandates, and other aspects of my lawsuit. You can watch the five-minute video here.
Brooke Conrad at Sinclair Broadcast Group wrote an excellent piece about my lawsuit, which was picked up by several news outlets including ABC in Washington, DC. Here are some excerpts from the article (or you can read the full article here):
“I'm being treated unequally,” Kheriaty said. “If my immunity is as good, indeed, very likely better, than that conferred by the vaccine, there doesn’t seem to be any rational basis for discriminating against my form of immunity and requiring me to get a different form of immunity.”
Kheriaty serves as director of UCI's Medical Ethics Program and is a member of the UC Office of the President Critical Care Bioethics Working Group. He said his concerns about the vaccine mandate were received “mostly with radio silence" by university leadership, prior to his lawsuit filing. “Efforts to elicit conversation, discussion, debate on the issue have fallen flat in my experience,” he said.
Kheriaty said he filed the lawsuit after hearing concerns about the vaccine mandate from others at the university. “It became clear to me that if I, as a medical ethicist, didn’t stand up and try to represent those voices, then those folks would be steamrolled by these policies,” he said.
“It’s entirely reasonable for people to look at unknown long-term risks of COVID versus unknown long-term risks of vaccine, or known short-term risks of COVID versus known short-term risks of vaccine, and say, 'The numerators in both these things are very vague,'” Kheriaty said. “In the face of that uncertainty, I should be able to make my own informed decision.”
He added that he believes people should be allowed to consult with their physician to decide whether or not to get vaccinated. “The vaccine mandates bypass that whole process of individualized medicine and individualized care,” he said. “And they bypass the process of informed consent that’s so central to good clinical medicine.”
Kheriaty says he believes public health officials make people more reluctant to get the shot when they aren't up front about the protection provided by natural immunity.
“The American people are not stupid,” he said. “When people see that public health officials are systematically ignoring important findings or important issues, it has the opposite effect of what the public health officials want. It increases vaccine hesitancy, rather than addressing the concerns of those who are hesitant.”
He said he believes vaccine mandates will produce the same effect.
“That’s going to amplify their concerns,” he said. “People are going to dig in their heels at that point because trust has been broken."
“I worry that the public health approach of not telling the whole truth as a way to try to get the behavioral outcomes that we want might have a few short-term gains, but will have a lot of really negative long-term consequences because of the erosion of public trust,” Kheriaty said.
I will post more from recent media coverage of my case next week.