Thoughts by Richard Bleil
A friend of mine was talking about how “wrong” it is for mandatory virus vaccinations. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about the government making vaccinations mandatory, but let’s be honest about this; they haven’t. Not to say that they won’t, but, as I pointed out to my friend, no state nor the national government have a mandatory law requiring the vaccination. She replied about certain businesses requiring it.
Okay, there’s a different story.
Yes, some places do require vaccinations where possible. Many universities are requiring all students (and faculty and staff) to be vaccinated. Some corporations also require vaccinations. My friend told me about a very large hospital local to her that requires vaccinations. There’s quite a bit to roll out here, so let’s handle this one at a time.
First, yes, many educational institutions are requiring vaccinations. But let’s be honest; they’ve been doing this for some time now. Every university and college I’ve attended required proof of MMR vaccination, tetanus and more. There is nothing new, and these vaccinations are not currently a pandemic. With Covid-19, we are very fortunate in that the vaccination also has (in early studies) shown at least some effectiveness against the delta variant and even other viruses. At its height, Covid-19 had over three hundred thousand new Covid-19 cases reported daily. With a population of three hundred million, that means that in one day one in one hundred of us reported coming down with the virus, and the mortality rate was so high that of these three hundred thousand, three thousand died. Yes, it’s only one percent, but three thousand deaths on one day? That’s significant. With universities and colleges drawing students from across the country, including states with the highest infection rates (such as North and South Dakota), that’s importing Covid-19 cases into YOUR state. Yes, I agree with mandatory vaccinations among students.
As far as private companies requiring vaccination, these companies are often privately owned. Discussion of vaccination for a privately owned company is beyond the scope of the debate. It’s their company, they own it, and as long as their hiring and employment requirements don’t violate laws prohibiting discrimination (that is, based on gender, race, religion and so forth), there’s really nothing that can be done about it. But, again, these stores are super-spreaders because of the nature of the business. Nearly all of us go to stores, be it grocery stores, clothing stores, shoe stores and so forth, so if somebody working in that store is infected, then yes, that will spread. Privately owned companies can make their own decisions, even though I disagree with many of them.
Finally, yes, in hospitals, require the vaccination to work there. Politics be damned, the reality is that in hospitals, people are going to be exposed to the Covid virus. Period. Where do you think people will go when they become ill? So it makes no sense to expose unvaccinated hospital workers to infected patients (especially since literally 99% of all new cases are among unvaccinated), only to have them exposed to other patients, nurses, doctors and other staff in the hospital. The mathematics behind this opinion is pretty easy to understand, and in my humble opinion, anybody who works in a hospital should be smart enough to work that out for themselves. If they insist on personal freedoms in such a high risk position, then maybe they’re not right to work in hospitals in the first place. To me, this is no different from pharmacists who insist that they won’t sell prescription birth control based on religious objections. If you work in the medical field, your personal convictions cannot be used as an excuse to harm others, or you just don’t belong in that position.
This might sound harsh, but I stand by it. People really need to think about their consequences and impact on those around them. Everybody has the right to be life (it’s in the Declaration of Independence). It’s time we act like it.
I find it interesting that, recently, even the Republican party is beginning to come around. Sadly, the Trump camp is still spouting lies and conspiracy theories and many of the Trump followers are refusing to get the vaccination, but more and more Republicans are doing the math and realizing the issue. When infection rate is again up, and because 99% of the new cases are unvaccinated, and because most unvaccinated states and individuals are Republican (thanks to these conspiracy theories), the people who are dying fastest are, yes, Republican voters. As more governors are calling for vaccinations (including Republican), maybe we have a chance to hit that critical limit for herd immunity to kick in.