I’m a proud pro-vaxxer – but mandatory vaccinations always make me uncomfortable

What’s going on in Germany? Even for a pro-vaxxer activist – I am proud of it – the idea of ​​a “compulsory” vaccination on the scale of the general population is uncomfortable.

I can fully understand why it is introduced in Germany, and Greece and Austria for that matter, because of their depressing coverage; but I fear how far they will take the policy – and whether it will actually have the desired effect.

Even in an emergency, you need to hang on to what will work. It’s about drawing a line. On the one hand, it seems more than reasonable to require people working in health and care facilities to be vaccinated, as this can reduce infection and transmission (to some extent) as it adds to a localized collective immunity effect, and of course national. .

It is also fair to ask those who enter crowded indoor places, including bars, theaters and restaurants, to produce evidence of Covid status, such as a documented negative test and vaccine certificate: a self. – saying vaccination passport. No one is allowed to go to a disco. Germany seems to be extending this to “non-essential stores”, which is pushing it, but with some justification.

Reducing contact reduces infections, after all. At this stage of the argument, it is still sometimes claimed that the Covid is no worse than the flu and that we must “learn to live with it”.

Perhaps Omicron will prove to be relatively mild, if not more contagious, but we don’t know that yet. We have to be careful because by the time we find out is not better than the Delta variant, it will be too late. Hence the “panic”, which is none other than the precautionary principle at work, albeit belatedly.

I would say the past 20 months have suggested that Covid may be rather worse for more people than the flu. It is endemic, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored. It is also emphasized that vaccination does not prevent anyone from catching Covid – or transmitting it.

This is only partially correct. The unvaccinated are disproportionately represented in Covid services. Vaccines reduce the incidence of the disease – which is why death rates remain lower than in the pre-vaccination period.

According to a recent report, fully vaccinated people can contract and transmit Covid-19 at home – but at lower rates than unvaccinated people (which comes from a study on the transmission of COVID-19 between household contacts, directed by Imperial College London and the United Kingdom Health Safety Agency (HSA) and published inThe Lancet Infectious Diseases).

On the same basis, people who work in other settings where they are in closer contact with a large number of people – for example, in schools, hotels or public transport – are also vaccinated as a condition of employment (with exceptions).

Of course, people should also be required to wear masks, as these too help reduce transmission. As with vaccines, masks aren’t 100% effective – far from it – but they add to our collective defenses, and this is confirmed in another recent UKHSA evidence survey, which concludes that: Overall, the evidence suggests that all face coverings are, to some extent, effective in reducing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in health and community settings. “

So every little bit counts, and that includes vaccination. Against this background, under extreme conditions, it may be reasonable to ask parents to agree to vaccination of older children, provided it is safe to do so – special caution is needed.

It is true that children rarely suffer much from Covid, but the elderly people they meet certainly do. The evidence for this pandemic of social and educational damage inflicted by sending home school students is also real – so it really should be a very last resort in a pandemic spike and collapse of the NHS. Yet if it saves lives, then it should be enforced, as the lockdowns have been over the past few months.

In each case, there is a link between “rights” and responsibilities: the right to a job being balanced with the responsibility to protect those around you. But then what? Instinctively, I used to think that anyone who is unvaccinated is a potential killer on the loose, but I do recognize that there are limits to what should (or can) be done to gain public support.

Withdrawing a driver’s license or passport is hard, as the relationship between these rights and obligations has nothing to do with Covid. Rather, should you start fining people over and over again just for not being vaccinated? And what if some can’t afford the constant penalties or refuse to pay?

Putting them in jail seems counterproductive, given how quickly Covid can spread in such an environment, so you’re running out of law enforcement measures.

If you take out Medicare they will be left behind to spread disease before they die. Some, in any case, would like to have the status of martyr. A government should not sever the commonly accepted link between rights and responsibilities, between an act of behavior and an act of state of a particular behavior.

It’s so routine that you hardly think about it. If you have income, you may be liable for income tax. If you take the highway, you don’t go over 70 mph (and you will have passed your driving test). If you want to turn your house into apartments, you need a building permit.

Making vaccination a general requirement is different, and unfortunately not understood; so you risk undermining the moral force of the public health campaign – which is to protect others as well as yourself – and to act responsibly on your own accord, as with most things we do in society. .

Finishing a hermit just for not getting hit seems absurd and unnecessary. The most acute dilemma is that presented by the unvaccinated suffering from Covid and requiring hospitalization. Treat them or leave them?

Some say they shouldn’t be given a bed in a room, depriving others of more responsibility, but again, that seems to overstep the line. I am not one of those who take pleasure in seeing anti-vaccine stories literally converting to deathbed from the vaccine.

Their illness is certainly self-inflicted – just like (arguably) smokers with lung disease, or a dangerous athlete in intensive care – but of course everyone has access to medical help.

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The unvaccinated Covid patient is different in that it is an infectious disease, and he may have harmed others – or even killed them – along the way due to his anti-social behavior, but it is always wrong to refuse treatment simply because of his ignorance or personal choice. This would make them untreated and left in the community, like something out of a medieval plague, harboring Covid.

Society still has residual obligations to them as citizens. Fortunately, Britain’s successful vaccine rollout and sense of community (and self-preservation) have meant these tough questions are not put to us. Still.

But in other parts of the world – not just in Germany with adequate vaccine stocks, but in places with appallingly low adoption rates and very high hesitation and anti-ax propaganda, like southern Africa – the balance between individual freedoms and community security is in jeopardy. balance and strength deeply unpleasant choices.

Ultimately, however, the right to life is the quintessential human right: a pandemic only sheds light on this truth.

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