The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will hold a roundtable discussion on the ethics of vaccine mandates Dec. 1, and it will feature a scientist from Dr. Anthony Fauci’s agency making the case against forced vaccination for COVID-19.
Dr. Matthew Memoli runs a clinical studies unit at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the agency headed by Dr. Fauci, and will make the case against vaccine mandates at the NIH event, according to The Wall Street Journal. Memoli has said he supports COVID-19 vaccination in high-risk populations, such as for the elderly or obese, but emailed Fauci on July 30 to say that mandatory vaccination is “extraordinarily problematic.”
“There’s a lot of debate within the NIH about whether [a vaccine mandate] is appropriate,” said David Wendler, a senior NIH bioethicist. “It’s an important, hot topic.” https://t.co/MtQZseexkn
— Tim Hanrahan (@TimJHanrahan) November 8, 2021
All NIH employees must be vaccinated before a Biden administration deadline on Nov. 22, and 88% of workers at the agency have complied so far. Memoli has applied for a religious exemption and said he is willing to risk his job over the NIH mandate, according to The WSJ.
Dr. Memoli argues that blanket vaccinations of low-risk communities could harm the development of stronger immunity gained from infection. He is an outlier among NIH doctors and the medical profession at-large, as most doctors recommend getting vaccinated rather than relying solely on natural immunity for protection. (RELATED: Pfizer To Request Approval For Nearly 90% Effective COVID-19 Pill)
Memoli said all of his kids have received their standard childhood vaccinations, and he is not “anti-vaccine” or opposed to all COVID-19 vaccinations: “I do vaccine trials. I, in fact, help create vaccines,” he told The WSJ. “Part of my career is to share my expert opinions, right or wrong.…I mean, if they all end up saying I’m wrong, that’s fine. I want to have the discussion.”
A 16-year veteran of the NIH, Memoli just received a 2021 NIH director’s award for his work on a national study early-pandemic undiagnosed COVID-19 cases.