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THOMPSON: It is long past time to make vaccinations mandatory

August 02, 2021 - 12:00 PM



The take-a-way from those who choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is clear…they not only don’t care about themselves…they don’t care about anyone else.

Forget the argument that they have some inalienable right not to be vaccinated. They don’t. It’s a worldwide public health issue…a matter of life and death. Our various governments impose laws for the overall public good to protect us from lots of things…wearing seat belts and not drinking alcohol while operating vehicles, for example. Don’t follow the rules…and there are penalties.

Many emergency measures imposed in response to COVID-19 could and should limit Canadians’ rights as guaranteed in the Charter…or Americans’ rights under The Constitution and Bill of Rights. Of course, if challenged in court, either government must prove that its actions are justified in our democracies.

But legal considerations notwithstanding, why would you choose death over life for yourself, your family and friends, as well as millions more fellow citizens? Personally, I’m weary of those among us who cling to unscientific-based opinions…driven by partisan politics and crazy conspiracy theories…or perhaps simply ignorance. Getting a vaccination, wearing a mask and social distancing - always the only intelligent strategy in combatting the pandemic - have been weaponized by far too many…in Canada and the U.S.

The anti-mask, anti-vaxx, you-can’t-tell-me-what-to-do crowd have chosen to live in a different world from the rest of us…until now. But truth, fact and science eventually collide with ignorance and arrogance…with all the reality of an 18-wheeler hitting a chicken. Not pretty…but maybe the word will get around among the rest of the chickens.

Almost from the very start more than a year-and-a-half ago there have been two worlds…and those who are vaccinated and played by the rules are living in the real world…and those who are not…well, they’re starting to die…and it’s not in any make-believe world. 

Covid-19 isn’t escalating as an emergency in either the U.S. or Canada right now…well, not exactly. Most of us live in areas where the vast majority are vaccinated…and cases are decreasing. Areas where the majority aren’t vaccinated…cases are increasing…dramatically.

For most of us - those who are vaccinated - the biggest worry is over. Your chances of not only surviving a COVID-19 infection but not even getting very ill or showing symptoms is likely. You’re more likely to die from a lightning strike than COVID-19 if you’ve been fully vaccinated.

If you’re not vaccinated…well, things are not looking too rosy. The Delta variant - which causes little trouble if you’re vaccinated - is much more contagious than the original virus. So, why are people not getting vaccinated? Are they that stubborn?

It is rare - even if you have an immune deficiency…are pregnant and lactating…or suffer from allergies - that one or another COVID-19 vaccines will hurt you, according to Yale Health in New Haven, CT. Indeed, that is the consensus among all reputable medical facilities. So, there are relatively few Americans, Canadians or anyone else who shouldn’t be vaccinated.

It still makes sense to wear masks and maintain social distance…that’s what we did when enough people weren’t vaccinated. Today, wearing masks and social distancing aren’t as effective against the Delta variant because it is the unvaccinated who continue to fight and ignore those sensible recommendations.

It never seemed reasonable to me to mandate masks and not vaccinations. It is long past time to make vaccinations mandatory…except for the relatively small number of people who are at greater risk from compromised immune systems or other severe underlying health issues.

The evidence is clear…COVID-19 isn’t a crisis for those vaccinated…and it is for those who are not. It is clear, too, that waiting on the unvaccinated to make a decision based on facts, science and the welfare of the public…isn’t going to happen. We need a vaccination mandate…and penalties for those who simply don’t want to play by the rules.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines.

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