In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published revised Covid guidelines that acknowledged what dissenters have long maintained: There is no medical basis for distinguishing between the immunity conferred by vaccines and the natural immunity resulting from Covid-19 infection. It follows that there is no reason to preserve vaccine mandates or requirements for the unvaccinated to cover their faces or show a negative test.

Even so, many such measures have lingered. The New York City Department of Education, for example, fired 850 teachers and aides this month for refusing to get vaxxed, bringing the total to nearly 2,000. More important, the assumptions that guided vaccine mandates show no sign of being dislodged. Skeptics have insisted since the beginning that the vaccines aren’t about health, but about control. Recent developments suggest something more subtle: The politicization of Covid vaccine mandates has yoked health to control by reconceptualizing the concept of immunity.

A little-noticed news item provides stark evidence that civic and legal ideas about Covid immunity have diverged from the CDC’s official science. On Sept. 12, a full month after the CDC revised its guidance, Judge Vernon S. Broderick of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that in an upcoming jury trial, “an individual may not be seated as a juror in the above-captioned case unless at least two weeks have passed since the individual’s second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, or at least two weeks have passed since the individual’s single-dose J&J/Janssen vaccine.”

Jury duty is part of the package of privileges and responsibilities that come with being a citizen, along with voting and paying taxes. Jury trials are guaranteed by the US Constitution. The eligibility requirements for service are minimal: typically, being a US citizen over the age of 18, speaking English, and not being convicted of a felony.

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