President Joe Biden’s call to go “door-to-door—literally knocking on doors—to help the remaining people” get vaccinated for COVID-19 is already being put into action across the country.
Despite the stated intentions of helping Americans, the plan is running into resistance from people who see the door-knocking as a violation of privacy rights.
Increased Access, Big Investment
In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where Charlotte is located, a “doses-to-doors” campaign is underway, promoted by the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department. The campaign is augmented by a mobile clinic, enabling shots to be given on the spot to consenting Americans.
Mecklenburg will not be the only county in the Tar Heel State to experience door-knocking. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has announced a statewide door-to-door campaign to encourage vaccination.
The Epoch Times reports NCDHHS is joining forces with the nonprofit North Carolina Counts to create the Healthier Together initiative. North Carolina Counts will be offering grants of up to $500,000 to organizations participating in vaccine outreach.
Organizing the Community
In Illinois, the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center has launched a “Community Health Ambassador Outreach Door Knocking Project to Increase COVID Vaccine Acceptance.”
The county’s website says, “We invite community organizations, faith centers, service providers, and interested individuals to serve as Community Health Ambassadors. Community Health Ambassadors who can play a key role in helping our community members get vaccinated by sharing resources, answering FAQs, and encouraging community members to register on AllVax, Lake County’s vaccine portal.”
Volunteers known as “ambassadors” are provided with a script that introduces them to unvaccinated people and includes talking points to hopefully convince people to get the shot. Oddly, one such guidance documents lists the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a source that can be trusted on vaccines. The CMS, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, has nothing to do with COVID-19 or vaccinations.
‘Disastrous Public Safety Consequences’
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) left no doubt that his state will have nothing to do with a door-to-door campaign.
“Enticing, coercing, intimidating, mandating, or pressuring anyone to take the vaccine is a bad policy which will deteriorate the public’s trust in the state’s vaccination efforts,” McMaster wrote in a letter to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. “The prospects of government vaccination teams showing up unannounced at the door of ‘targeted’ homeowners or on their property will further deteriorate the public’s trust and could potentially lead to disastrous public safety consequences.”
Republican Gov. Mike Parsons lost no time in nixing the idea of a door-to-door campaign in Missouri.
One day after Biden’s speech, Parsons tweeted, “I have directed our health department to let the federal government know that sending government employees or agents door-to-door to compel vaccination would NOT be an effective OR a welcome strategy in Missouri.”
Possible Government Privacy Intrusion
The issue of neighborhood vaccination teams is not about to go away. With the late summer spread of the Delta variant, the Biden administration appears determined to push inoculations.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra told CNN it’s the government’s business to know who is and who isn’t vaccinated. HHS has $10 billion from the American Rescue Plan to promote vaccination nationwide.
“HHS Secretary Becerra has the authoritarian idea that the ‘government’ has the right to your confidential medical information, especially your COVID vaccine status,” says Jane Orient, M.D., president of the Arizona-based American Association of Physicians and Surgeons. “What does he plan to do with the information? Forcibly vaccinate you or contain you in a quarantine facility?
“The only persons who need to know your medical information are those responsible for diagnosis and treatment,” Orient said. “The right to withhold informed consent is a bedrock principle of medical ethics and a fundamental human right. Uninvited door-to-door intrusions are unacceptable as a government or medical action. Physicians and other medical workers can be charged with assault and battery if they attempt to diagnose or treat without the patient’s consent. They are not permitted to go door to door to solicit patients or to distribute unwanted advice.
Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D., (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.