The soft anti-vaxxness of the Great Barrington Declaration

I have pointed out many times that libertarian critics of lockdowns and vaccine mandates often promote vaccine hesitancy by downplaying the effectiveness of vaccines and exaggerating their risks and the benefits of natural immunity.

I had assumed that this anti-vax angle was a later addition to the libertarian playbook, a response to vaccine mandates and passports.  The Great Barrington Declaration, which was published before vaccines were available and became the focal point of libertarian resistance to government pandemic policy, was primarily concerned with ending lockdowns. 

But the FAQ for the Great Barrington Declaration includes this:

What is the role of vaccines in focused protection?

If wisely used, COVID-19 vaccines are an important additional tool for focused protection. The key is to vaccinate older high-risk people as well as their care givers, such as hospital and nursing home staff. Those who have already had COVID-19 do not need to be vaccinated.

This was written at a time – late 2020 – when there was great uncertainty over the efficacy of both vaccines and natural immunity – how long they would protect against illness, whether they would prevent infections and onward transmission, etc.  But the authors of the GBD already knew that there was no need to vaccinate those who had recovered from Covid-19, or indeed anyone other than high-risk people and their caregivers. 

The anti-vaxness was there from the get-go.