by Yudi Sherman
In a recent court hearing on January 11, 2022, non-profit organization America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS) continued its legal assault on Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate, citing discrimination. In an approximate one-and-a-half-hour oral argument, Attorney Sheldon Karasik argued against the mandate, saying that “Blacks are locked out of society.”
De Blasio’s Emergency Executive Order (EEO) #225, otherwise known as the “Key to NYC” campaign, began enforcing a COVID-19 vaccination mandate on August 17, 2021. De Blasio persisted in expanding the mandate until, by the time he left office on December 31, 2021, even children 5-11 years old were barred from entering certain venues without proof of vaccination.
The City of New York’s own study from May 2021, which was used to justify these draconian orders, show that Blacks are disproportionately affected by these mandates. According to the study, 56% of Blacks harbored concerns that they did not have enough information about the vaccine, as opposed to 32% of Whites. In addition, 35% of Blacks were “very concerned about missing work due to vaccine side effects”, as opposed to just 19% of Whites.
These data suggest that the demographic most likely to be adversely impacted by the vaccination mandates and barred from basic venues would be Blacks. While Bill de Blasio was aware of these numbers, he nevertheless forged ahead with EEO #225 at great detriment to the Black population.
De Blasio’s own party supports the claim that this order is inherently racist. The Democratic Party has long held the belief that voter ID laws are racist, claiming that they disproportionately impact Black Americans and present obstacles to their ability to vote. EEO #225, having a similar exclusionary impact on Blacks, is by nature racially biased.
America’s Frontline Doctors further argued against the validity of the Emergency Executive Order given that there is no emergency.
"There has to be a factual basis for any kind of emergency order and the fact that a virus could get worse in the future... doesn't provide a factual basis today...” said Karasik.
Karasik further argued that the vaccine neither protects against infection nor transmission of the virus, rendering any mandate enforcing vaccination effectively arbitrary.
"If the vaccine works, then why do we have to exclude the unvaccinated? What threat are they? And if the vaccine doesn't work, then why is the state forcing it?" Karasik asked the court.
While the government maintains that this emergency is ongoing indefinitely and that there no less-restrictive alternatives exist for combating the virus, the city’s own Dr. Jay Varma notes the effectiveness of washing hands, social distancing and masks. Furthermore, AFLDS Associate Medial Director Dr. Daniel Stock supported Karasik’s argument that "comparisons to the smallpox pandemic are hollow, because, there, vaccines were effective at stopping transmission during a pandemic that far exceeded the death rate here, associated with COVID.”
According to AFLDS Founder Dr. Simone Gold, "The consequences of not getting the vaccine constitute a deprivation of a liberty right. Attorney Karasik made this point effectively, pointing to Cruzan and the Court's stance that there is a fundamental right to refuse medical treatment. This is a treatment, not a vaccine.”
"This vaccine, which is a treatment, not a vaccine, does not prevent the virus, or the transmission of the virus; it does not immunize someone against the disease,” Gold added. “The emergency must end now, before many more lives and livelihoods are destroyed."