On Friday, 17 September 2021, the Swiss government decided to limit the movement of unvaccinated people through its borders.
The measure, active from 20 September 2021, has overwhelming impacts on the freedoms of roughly 48% of the population. Should these citizens decide to go out (e.g., to Italy) and re-enter, they'll need to fill a Passenger Locator Form (for their own country!!!), and they'll also need to show the results of multiple Covid-19 tests to prove, before crossing the border and a few days after that, that they are not dangerous virus spreaders (Swissinfo 2021).
Welcome, then, after Green-pass-Checkpoint-Charlie, to the Democratic (banana) Republic of Switzerland!
The measure arrives at a moment when the number of Covid-19's positive tests, hospitalizations, and ICU's occupancy are decreasing, and vaccinated people are on the rise (Federal Office of Public Health, 2021), albeit not as fast as Mr. Berset would like. The measure is being spearheaded as a way (or the only way) to limit the risks that Covid-19 impacts upon the hospital services and ICUs' capacity shortly, eventually sometime in the next future, while Fall and Winter are approaching. The government thus preventively braces against yet another wave (which is still to be seen if it arrives: on the concept of risk avoidance, refer to the first blog of the website) by limiting freedoms.
The measure arrives after the government decided to curtail, already, the life of those who do not take mRNA vaccines (as mRNA vaccines are the only available option here). If they want to enjoy their social life, they must take Covid-19 tests, still free of charge until 1 October. This, to go to the restaurant, to a bar, to theatre performances, to the movie, to the gym, and even to attend university. To enter into any closed public space, in short (Swissinfo 2021, Leybold-Johnson 2021).
So, simply put, this is a measure to COERCE people into taking the jab, precisely as it's happening in other countries.
Once upon a time, Switzerland was a democracy. But now? We never had so many rallies against our governments in a lifetime. But, to be honest, one shouldn't be surprised: the constitution has never been previously treated as if it were waste paper.
Now, those who oppose such draconian measures for preventive measures and to coerce people into taking the jab are being impeded to demonstrate any more in the city of Bern, the country's capital (Ticinonline 2021a). This on the basis that last week the police hampered an assault on the Federal Palace (Ticinonline, 2021b).
Here, as anywhere else in the world, the choice is as follows: either you become part of a scientific experiment and enjoy your constitutional rights freely, or you'll be limited and pay for them regularly to exercise them.
Meanwhile, the narrative by the media is similar to any other country out there: those who refuse to get the mRNA vaccines are generic anti-vaxxers, people incapable of appreciating science's utmost perfection and the validity of any vaccine discovered during the last two centuries. Those who refuse to become guinea pigs are denying the existence of the virus and its impact on health. mRNA's vaccines are as safe as any other vaccine. Eventually, their creators will get the Nobel prize shortly.
No vaxxers, on the contrary, are obscurantists! You egoist! You do not worry about society's well-being as a whole, about third parties' health! (let's nonetheless say that nobody took the jab to protect the health of others, whose health they do not give a damn, but because s/he was scared to death of Covid-19 or wanted to go on holiday). Within such a constitutional crisis, the MSM and comments by citizens below these, sometimes push for more burdensome measures against the unvaxxed (see e.g., Zantonelli, 2020). It remains unclear why a jabbed person, though, should be scared of those unvaxxed. Shouldn't such a wondrous vaccine protect even against plague?
Such narratives and measures forget too many halves of the truth.
The first issue is constitutional. It's impossible to say that there is any emergency to excuse so many suspensions of human rights. The inexistent crisis emerges from the government's data (Federal Office of Public Health, 2021).
The second issue is that none is free anymore to even air questions about mRNA's vaccines. You can't doubt anything about it. Their only collateral effect, be warned, is that you may feel some pain on the site of the injection. From time to time, a genuinely negligible number of jabbed people may get pericarditis, easily cured! Meanwhile, the risk of consequences by Covid-19 is higher, worrisome, and lethal. Should you not get the vaccine, you'll undoubtedly die a long and painful death while occupying intensive care units, that may be used for other patients, but you.
The truth is that those who praise the mRNA vaccines have exactly the same amount of information as those who have doubts about them. Neither side has the instruments to answer, with data and confidence, if the vaccines have possible long-term side effects, be they serious or less. The difference is that those who doubt the government's propaganda (as well as MSM, pharmaceutical companies, social media, fact checkers...) know they do not know (a Socratic principle).
Those who praise the wondrous vaccines, on the other hand, take as a proof of the absence of long-term adverse side effects, their absence in the short term (something which is a fallacy and usually isn't the y of doing with pharmaceutical products).
Still in April 2019, thus before the pandemics, a peer-reviewed article on mRNA vaccines concluded: "mRNA-based vaccines are a promising novel platform with the potential to be highly versatile, potent, streamlined, scalable, inexpensive, and cold-chain free. Importantly, mRNA-based vaccines may fill the gap between emerging pandemic infectious diseases and a rapid, abundant supply of effective vaccines. The mRNA vaccine technology holds great potential over conventional vaccines. This versatile RNA vaccine platform offers benefits in the speed and cost of discovery and development, the probability of success for many targets, and rapid production of an effective vaccine against novel threats (Figure 2). However, it is still too early to fully understand its safety and effectiveness in humans. Recently published results from two clinical trials of conventional mRNA vaccines against infectious diseases showed an overall good tolerability profile and promising immunogenicity, but with more modest responses than expected based on results from animals. Further insights into the mechanism of action are needed to understand the impact of innate immune responses generated both by the mRNA and the delivery system, and to determine how learning from animal species will translate to humans. Several questions remain unanswered, including the relative utility of nucleoside-modified versus unmodified mRNAs, self-amplifying mRNAs versus conventional mRNAs, the most efficient and safest delivery system, and the best route of administration. In addition, the safety and tolerability profile of these emerging technologies needs to be fully elucidated, including the relative roles of the RNA and delivery systems in stimulating proinflammatory innate immune responses, and how the doses of these components contribute. A further understanding of the sequence of events leading to antigen expression, innate activation, and adaptive responses could guide the development of a portfolio of mRNA molecules and delivery systems with differential attributes. This will create a toolbox to tackle different applications, such as prophylactic versus therapeutic vaccines, infectious disease versus host disease (e.g., cancer) targets, or delivery of vaccine antigen versus therapeutic molecules (e.g., molecular antibodies). The next 5 years will be very important for the field of mRNA vaccines, with results from several human clinical trials providing a clearer understanding of the true prospects of the technology and insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the various mRNA technologies and delivery systems under development (Maruggi & al, 2019:768).
Another article, also pre-pandemics, reported "Potential safety concerns that are likely to be evaluated in future preclinical and clinical studies include local and systemic inflammation, the biodistribution and persistence of expressed immunogen, stimulation of autoreactive antibodies and potential toxic effects of any non-native nucleotides and delivery system components. A possible concern could be that some mRNA-based vaccine platforms induce potent type I interferon responses, which have been associated not only with inflammation but also potentially with autoimmunity. Thus, identification of individuals at an increased risk of autoimmune reactions before mRNA vaccination may allow reasonable precautions to be taken. Another potential safety issue could derive from the presence of extracellular RNA during mRNA vaccination. Extracellular naked RNA has been shown to increase the permeability of tightly packed endothelial cells and may thus contribute to oedema […] While preclinical studies have generated great optimism about the prospects and advantages of mRNA- based vaccines, two recent clinical reports have led to more tempered expectations22,91. In both trials, immunogenicity was more modest in humans than was expected based on animal models, a phenomenon also observed with DNA-based vaccines, and the side effects were not trivial" ((Pardi, Hogan, Porter and Weissman, 2018:275).
So, while experts in the field showed caution, the government (and its minions) has none. And while none has the correct answer, because none can predict the long-term safety of mRNA vaccines, non-vaxxers rightly hesitate. But, at the same time, the Swiss government (adding to the infamous list of many others) wants them to be part of an experiment (which isn't exactly being painted as being one) to enjoy sacrosanct freedoms.
Eventually, from China, we didn't get only the virus, but the totalitarian methods too.
Let's close such a long post recalling just two short recent pieces of info. First, in a hospital in the US, the number of vaccinated people with symptomatic COVID-19 is - surprise surprise - now more prominent than the number of those who did not take the jab (Keener & al. 2021). Second. The media and various fact-checkers (really, have they both any use?) underlined much misinformation on the relationship between vaccines and fertility or menstrual periods. Despite their furious fact-checks, some doctors are now asking to re-evaluate and study if the vaccines have any consequences on women's health (Euronews 2021 v. Medicalnewstoday.com. 2021.)
euronews. 2021. Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for pregnant women?. [online] Available at: <https://www.euronews.com/next/2021/08/27/do-covid-vaccines-affect-pregnancy-fertility-or-periods-we-asked-the-world-health-organiza> [Accessed 20 September 2021].
Federal Office of Public Health, 2021. COVID-19 Switzerland Information on the current situation. https://www.covid19.admin.ch/en/overview.
Keehner, J., Horton, L., Binkin, N., Laurent, L., Pride, D., Longhurst, C., Abeles, S. and Torriani, F., 2021. Resurgence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in a Highly Vaccinated Health System Workforce. New England Journal of Medicine,.
Leybold-Johnson, I., 2021. Mixed feelings over Covid certificate at Swiss universities. Swissinfo, [online] Available at: <https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/mixed-feelings-over-covid-certificate-at-swiss-universities/46957258> [Accessed 20 September 2021].
Maruggi, G., Zhang, C., Li, J., Ulmer, J. and Yu, D., 2019. mRNA as a Transformative Technology for Vaccine Development to Control Infectious Diseases. Molecular Therapy, 27(4), pp.757-771.
Medicalnewstoday.com. 2021. Do COVID-19 vaccines affect periods? Expert calls for investigation. [online] Available at: <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/do-covid-19-vaccines-affect-menstrual-cycles-expert-calls-for-investigation> [Accessed 20 September 2021].
Pardi, N., Hogan, M., Porter, F. and Weissman, D., 2018. mRNA vaccines — a new era in vaccinology. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 17(4), pp.261-279.
Swissinfo, 2021. Swiss government limits access to restaurants to Covid certificate holders. [online] Available at: <https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/covid-19-certificate--government-restricts-access-to-restaurants--cinemas-and-museums/46930520> [Accessed 20 September 2021].
Swissinfo, 2021. Switzerland imposes new Covid-19 entry rules for some travellers. [online] Available at: <https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/switzerland-imposes-new-covid-19-entry-rules-for-some-travellers/46956108> [Accessed 20 September 2021].
Ticinonline. 2021. Berna mette la museruola ai No-Vax. [online] Available at: <https://www.tio.ch/svizzera/attualita/1536559/berna-misure-federale-citta-manifestazioni> [Accessed 20 September 2021].
Ticinonline. 2021. Corona-scettici, la polizia ha impedito «un possibile assalto a Palazzo federale». [online] Available at: <https://www.tio.ch/svizzera/attualita/1535869/polizia-federale-palazzo-berna-assalto-impedito> [Accessed 20 September 2021].
Zantonelli, F., 2020. https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2020/11/17/news/svizzera_la_provocazione_di_un_medico_niente_terapia_intensiva_se_e_piena_ai_negazionisti_-274711743/.La Repubblica, [online] Available at: <https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2020/11/17/news/svizzera_la_provocazione_di_un_medico_niente_terapia_intensiva_se_e_piena_ai_negazionisti_-274711743/> [Accessed 20 September 2021].