As the U.S. is once again wracked by a massive surge of the coronavirus, the country is increasingly turning to a new solution: vaccine mandates. Since vaccines are the best solution that we have, and because so many Americans for various reasons refuse to take the vaccine, it seems logical that we incentivize vaccination by mandating vaccines in workplaces and businesses.
It’s simple, it’s effective, and it’ll bring an end to the Covid pandemic once and for all. But already we can hear the age-old argument being wheeled out from the graveyard: My Freedom! The argument follows that it is an individual’s right to choose not to get vaccinated, and forcing individuals to get vaccinated is akin to a Nazi tyranny.
To which I respond: what about MY freedom? What about MY freedom to not get infected from you? What about MY freedom to go to a hospital and not have it be full? What about MY freedom to be free from Covid restrictions, which anti-vaxxers are, in a strange twist of events, perpetuating?
The simple fact of the matter is, like seatbelts, stop signs, and clothing requirements in stores, what you do regarding Covid affects me. If you bruise your ankle, that doesn’t increase the chance of me bruising my ankle, but you getting Covid does increase my chance of getting ill. Therefore, any attempt to fight Covid must be done on a community basis.
The idea of treating Covid as an individual problem is ludicrous. We all have a freedom to swing our fist, but that freedom ends at someone else’s nose. Unfortunately, in America, the right to be irresponsible even if it hurts others is accepted. In America, we have eroded the concept of social responsibility; there is only the responsibility to mememememe!
This pandemic could have benefited from a collective patriotism that emphasized protecting and saving each other’s lives. Come to think of it, lots of facets of American life could benefit from social responsibility. Healthcare, the environment, and the economy could all benefit from making sure that all Americans everywhere can prosper. When we look at America’s greatest achievements—winning World War II, passing Social Security and Medicare, landing a man on the moon, and implementing The New Deal—all of them were done because Americans agreed to work together to achieve the greater good.
So yes, let’s mandate the vaccine, for the sake of our health, our future, our community, and, of course, my freedoms!
Photo courtesy of Dean Moses.