No one can really deny knowing what is going on around the world as the Covid-19 (and its variants) Pandemic continue to tighten their grip. Everyone in North America who reads a newspaper, watches television, uses a computer or talks to a friend knows about the division of American society over use of existing vaccine as a preventive mechanism against the Covid-19 disease and its dangerous variants. When I first commented in the Blog/Newsletter on the Pandemic (August of 2020), the scourge was overwhelming medical capability worldwide – resulting in illness and death rates not seen in over 100 years (not including wars).
Now, thanks be to God and tremendous efforts by healthcare workers and many others devoted to keeping us all going in spite of disease, we have several vaccines which have proven again and again to be effective in (1) preventing the disease, and (2) if a “breakthrough” case should happen, lessen the severity and increase the survivability of illness.
Yet, a huge portion of American society (at this writing – virtually half of U.S. adult population) currently refuses to take the vaccination even if they are “health-qualified”. I find this personally frustrating and terribly disappointing because my wife (known to many readers – Bryane Miller Lickson) cannot take the vaccination for valid health reasons. So, now she is in Day 521 of a self-imposed lock-in. When we do go out to shop, bank etc., she and I are both masked.
The other morning, I was listening and watching the news on television. A young woman in Alabama was interviewed and she expressed her view that vaccination was not necessary. She was 22 years old and, in very good health (in her opinion). She saw absolutely no reason to take the vaccine.
Many people – especially in the U.S. (and other countries where vaccines are plentiful) are wrestling over a decision – Vaccine – Si or Vaccine No.
Credible scientific sources have said many times at the highest levels of government and public health (including my own Alma Mater – Johns Hopkins) that the vaccines are both safe and effective. But there are people also all over the world and very out-spoken here in the U.S. who would make a two-pronged argument against taking the jab. They would assert (1) that they have heard that the vaccines are not only not helpful, but may cause serous long term negative side effects – both physical and psychological. And they argue also that no one is going to compel them to take a vaccine.
A good and very bright female friend of both Bryane and me went on to say: “If you can compel one to take a vaccine, we can no longer call ourselves a democracy.”
The case against compelling the vaccine reflects in many minds, the issue of freedom of choice – a freedom that they hold dear. In the United States, this includes half the adult population – not yet vaccinated and probably many people who have been vaccinated at least once.
Those of us who also hold that freedom dear, but also hold that human life has a dear value would hope and maybe even plead for the U.S. to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as we can.
Medical and legal evidence is clear; without vaccination (maybe even by compelling it as many employers, schools and others do, we won’t win this battle – very possibly the biggest battle (including war) we will ever face.
As pointed out by Professor Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown Law (my law school alma mater) was speaking about the possible clash between health and human rights . Gostin is an accepted expert on both Public Health and the Law. He has said the greatest value offered by government here or abroad is equity. He is quoted on the Smerconish CNN TV Show and Blog; “We need heath that is fairly allocated to everybody – health with justice.”
It is a fact that so far the courts have so far upheld the ability of a private company and even school districts to compel vaccination. The only exceptions that have so far been recognized, have been acceptable religious or valid health reasons not to vaccinate.
Several states have tried to limit the legal right of private companies to compel vaccination. Laws banning compulsion to vaccinate or offer proof of vaccination have been routinely over-ruled. It may be that the very survivability of life is at stake here. I’m afraid that many so-called “patriots” do not recognize the crisis the Pandemic has presented.
This Newsletter is about opinion, so, my opinion is: While I have great respect for our freedom of choice here in America, I value the continuation of human life in this country. I think (wish it were not so) that compulsion may be required and must be considered - to force Covid vaccination or ban people from many positions, cruises, schools and maybe in serving in the military or other government service.