A fairly modest proposal about vaccines

Joseph E. Green
3 min readDec 14, 2020


I’ve decided to get into trouble today.

It won’t take long, so don’t worry. Here goes nothin’.

The media and the public are excited about a new vaccine for Covid-19. The media is worried that the public might be influenced by anti-vaxxers and will refuse to take the vaccine, while many in the public are deeply suspicious about the possibility of vaccine injury.

Here’s what I think: Some people are afraid of vaccines because they are concerned for their health and safety and that of their children. You might not like their reasons, but they are coming from a place of concern — just like the people who want everyone to get vaccinated. They fundamentally agree on the end goal. They disagree about the means.

The media, politicians, and the vaccine makers may or may not agree with this end goal. Their motives cannot be pure because there is an absolutely colossal amount of money at stake. I am not saying that anyone is in fact corrupt, but we can all agree that is foolish to simply eliminate the possibility of corruption. The current president, as well as people like Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi, would give the old Soviet politburo pause in this regard. The arguments tend to be about which person from which party is more extravagantly corrupt than the other, and it is a tight, competitive contest.

Perhaps we should then trust the vaccine manufacturers? Take Pfizer, for instance. Go look up the Björk–Shiley valve. I’ll be here when you get back.

See what I’m saying?

I think the answer is very simple. In the past, I proposed a scheme that goes like this: the first year, everyone who makes $500,000 a year gets it first. After a year, if everyone seems fine, then those who make $400,000 get the vaccine. And so on, until within five years everyone has received the vaccine.

There are objections to this (fairly modest) proposal. I get that.

Ok, so here’s my new, even more fairly modest, proposal:

(1) Before the vaccine is rolled out, the vaccine makers and the government agree to full responsibility for any negative consequences of the vaccine. That means for all appropriate causes of action, there will be no liability shields, no caps on civil damages, full protection.

(2) For any individual that is knowingly involved in rushing the process of the vaccine, or in ignoring any known dangers from the vaccine, whether that person be a governmental employee, a corporate employee, or a scientist, they would also be exposed to criminal charges for any and all malfeasance resulting in a vaccine injury to anyone and waive all defenses.

I think this would restore some public confidence. Imagine if Bill Gates were to say he would personally pay for vaccine injuries and agree to criminal charges and waive all rights to a defense. I think that would make everybody feel better.

It would also make perfect sense to agree to these conditions. If the vaccine is to be trusted, and no one is being criminally negligent in its production or distribution, than what would be the problem? Because the way things are rolling out right now, the public assumes all of the risk and the government and corporations assume none.

And that’s the real issue.

Can you blame any living soul on this planet for not having the greatest confidence about the current situation? About the rush to get out the vaccine? And about the noisy binary screeching across the network airwaves?

Anyway, it’s just a thought.



Joseph E. Green

Joseph E. Green is an author, playwright, and publisher. His main website is joegreenjfk.com.