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In Defense of Covid Vaccine Holdouts

Sometimes personal experience makes for a good story and this Hub is an interesting tale from my personal experience.

Tent at a Cinco de Mayo event in Tucson dispensing walk-in COVID immunizations

Tent at a Cinco de Mayo event in Tucson dispensing walk-in COVID immunizations

COVID Vaccines Are Safe For Most People

I have now received both of my COVID shots without any problems. The vaccine has been tested and has proven safe for most people. Since humans are not uniform in all respects, there will always be some whose bodies have an adverse reaction. There may also be some whose immune system will fight off the Coronavirus without the aid of a vaccine. However, for most of us the vaccine won’t do anything more than protect us from the disease.

As of this writing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the federal agency that evaluates products, including medication, has declared the current COVID vaccines to be safe in that they don’t pose a threat to the health and safety of the people who receive the vaccine shots. At the same time the FDA, as of this writing, has not yet declared the vaccines to be effective in preventing people from becoming infected with COVID. However evidence to date indicates that new COVID cases are declining as vaccinations are increasing. This appears to be why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in a May 16th post on their website stated: Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. (SOURCE URL: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html ).

Worst case scenario is that the vaccine will not harm a person but also has yet to be proven to the FDA’s satisfaction that it protects against becoming infected by the COVID virus.

Currently about one-half of the U.S. adult population has been vaccinated and the pace should be picking up as vaccine supplies are increasingly becoming more readily available. Previously people had to wait for appointments now no-appointment walk-in availability is becoming increasingly available.

Napkin accompanying snack on Alaska Airlines.  Despite CDC advisory individual businesses as well as state and local government regulations can still require everyone, including those vaccinated, to continue to wear masks.

Napkin accompanying snack on Alaska Airlines. Despite CDC advisory individual businesses as well as state and local government regulations can still require everyone, including those vaccinated, to continue to wear masks.

Many People Are Still Reluctant To Get Vaccinated

However, despite the current availability of the vaccine many are hesitant to get vaccinated. As I see it this increased hesitancy to get vaccinated is due in large part to the flood of misinformation that has surrounded the COVID pandemic from the start. Much of the media, left wing politicians along with many self styled experts and academics have attempted to advance their careers and agendas with COVID fear mongering. Helping them has been the steady decline in the quality of education in K-12 public schools and universities leaving a growing segment of the public ill equipped to separate fact from fiction.

While I totally disagree with those choosing not to be vaccinated - a group that includes some of my family and friends - I recognize their right to choose not to be vaccinated.

Given that the COVID shots are available to all people residing in the United States with no out of pocket costs (our tax dollars are covering the cost and there is no refund for not getting the shots) and minimal inconvenience as people in most places can now walk into many pharmacies, clinics and other places and get vaccinated without an appointment. I received my two shots of the Moderna vaccine at the pharmacy inside the grocery store where I regularly shop. So, other than a few minutes of my time it wasn’t even an inconvenience.

Sign in a store with instructions on how to properly wear a mask

Sign in a store with instructions on how to properly wear a mask

Those Who Refuse The Vaccine Will Continue To Be At Risk For COVID

While I recognize a person’s right to refuse to get vaccinated, they in turn have to accept the fact that they may get COVID and should continue to practice COVID prevention measures.

Increasing numbers of fully vaccinated people, along with the numerous people who have acquired immunity from having had COVED are resulting in a decline in new COVID cases. As more people get vaccinated (or get COVID and acquire immunity as a result) the chances of unvaccinated people getting COVID will also decrease but some risk will remain.

Both those vaccinated and those not vaccinated should continue to practice healthy lifestyles such as washing hands, proper diet, exercise, sleep, etc. as COVID is not the only disease facing people.

Social Distancing sign at Tucson's Reid Park Zoo showing how to calculate the 6 foot distance.  Unfortunately it was hard to find 38 golden dart frogs and get then to line up in a straight line.

Social Distancing sign at Tucson's Reid Park Zoo showing how to calculate the 6 foot distance. Unfortunately it was hard to find 38 golden dart frogs and get then to line up in a straight line.

Wide Availability Of Vaccine Transfers Responsibility To Protect Against COVID From Society To Individuals

Those who choose not to get vaccinated can no longer expect society to be responsible for protecting them against COVID beyond offering the vaccine. With immunizations being both free and, in most places, easily available, those choosing not to get vaccinated have no right to insist that the rest of society be required to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, continue working from home and other pandemic safety precautions.

Libertarian types and others not averse to risk taking will welcome the lifting of COVID restrictions. However, many who are very afraid of both COVID and the vaccines will want restrictions to remain. Life is a risk and throughout our lives we often have to make choices between bad and worse. In this case those choosing to not get vaccinated will have to decide which fear is greater - getting COVID or getting the vaccine.

Stores have the right to require all customers to wear a mask as well as shirts and shoes.

Stores have the right to require all customers to wear a mask as well as shirts and shoes.

Free Market Capitalism Will Aid Some Who Continue To Fear COVID

One of the great things about a free market economic system (capitalism) is that, in their goal to maximize profits, entrepreneurs and business owners are pressured to provide people with what they want and this can include the shopping experience as well as the products and services being offered. Since many people, including some who have been vaccinated, have been traumatized by pandemic induced fear mongering to the point where they remain hesitant to begin venturing out even with masks and social distancing.

As a result stores, restaurants, businesses and employers will have to determine the extent to which the majority of their customers and employees value safety over freedom. Those that see a large portion of their customer base still living in fear of COVID will continue requiring masks, social distancing and other safety features. Others, whose customer base is made up of people who are tired of COVID restrictions, will dispense with mask requirements and other pandemic era restrictions.

I saw an example of this phenomenon in practice years ago when I was working in the financial industry and the Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration started offering direct electronic deposit of Social Security and Veterans Pension checks. This was very popular with more affluent retirees who liked to travel and often spent summers in a northern state and winters in a Sunbelt state. While most financial institutions, including the one I worked for, marketed electronic direct deposit aggressively, one small bank located in an older section of town populated mostly by middle income people who had retired from factory jobs saw retirement as a time to stay home, putter in their gardens and help with their grandchildren. Travel didn’t interest them. Seeing this, the small bank started offering free coffee and donuts the first couple of days each month when people came in to deposit their Social Security and VA checks. That bank knew its customers and realized that, for the people in question, depositing a check in person was not an inconvenience but rather an opportunity to chat with acquaintances and a return to the world of business for a couple of hours each month. That bank more than doubled the number of its depositors as a result of that insight.

For those still traumatized by COVID fears some stores, restaurants and other places that continue COVID safety precautions will continue to offer such people a safe haven beyond their homes and give them a chance to slowly transition back to normal life. Many others will do away with COVID restrictions and focus on the vast majority of people seeking to get back to normal life free of lockdowns and other COVID restrictions.

Mask notice at entrance to a shop selling honey in Seattle's historic Pike Place Market

Mask notice at entrance to a shop selling honey in Seattle's historic Pike Place Market

COVID Immunization Certificates or COVID Passports

People receiving COVID immunization vaccinations are given a certificate verifying that the holder has been completely vaccinated against COVID. The form and design of these certificates vary depending upon the state or locality or the provider of the shot. Since there is no standard form it will be difficult to verify the authenticity of the form.

The World Health Organization used to provide doctors and medical authorities with a small, yellow passport size booklet in which their doctors could list the types of vaccinations and dates administered. Many nations, including the United States, required travelers to present these health or medical passports when entering the country. However, as a result of mass vaccinations most of the deadly diseases required for foreign travel have been all but eliminated so there is no longer a need for health passports and the practice of issuing and requiring them was discontinued decades ago.

While requiring health passports along with regular passports to be presented by people entering a nation probably would not encounter too much opposition, health passports for internal use would likely be met with fierce opposition as these are reminders the internal passports used tby totalitarian states such as the former USSR and Nazi Germany to track he movements of their people. They were also used prior to the American Civil War by southern slave states in the United States as a tool to restrict mobility of slaves as well as by South Africa to restrict and control blacks under the, now discontinued, apartheid policies.

While data showing the number of people vaccinated is being collected by the Federal Government, that data doesn’t include the names of those vaccinated. This leaves it up to individuals to “self identify” as to their COVID vaccination status, with some of them being more than willing to lie about their vaccination status. Since medical privacy laws prevent employers, businesses and others from asking for official proof of vaccination status, employers, businesses and other public entities will have no way to independently verify whether or not a person has actually been immunized.

However, this is not a problem for those who have been vaccinated since they have little, if any, chance of becoming sick with COVID. It is a problem for those who have chosen not to be vaccinated as they are susceptible to being infected by COVID but they should have considered that risk when they chose not to be vaccinated.

Sign in Seattle restaurant limiting seating by order of the state's Governor.

Sign in Seattle restaurant limiting seating by order of the state's Governor.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Chuck Nugent

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