As the country adjusts to life in a post-pandemic world, vaccine mandates have become a hotly contested issue. With the number of cases and hospitalizations rebounding across the country, New York City has become the first major city to require proof of vaccination to enter gyms, restaurants, theaters, and other indoor public places.
I believe that not all Americans should be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As someone who visits a doctor annually, I don’t always follow what they ask me to do during the visit. Therefore, you win more bees with honey than fire. The vaccine works at protecting against death that those who are immune can feel good about living life without becoming severely ill.
However, those who choose not to get vaccinated are making a poor health decision at their own risk. They are not a threat to those already immune. Consider those who choose to smoke, drink alcohol or not wear a helmet when riding a bike. The CDC reports that 85,000 Americans died from alcohol annually, yet we don’t have the same response to those lives. Perhaps we can encourage getting vaccinated instead of forcing it on people, making them more entrenched in their opposition.
It’s not necessary to vaccinate every living, breathing, and walking American. It’s not the way to control the pandemic. We know it’s hard for the virus to harm someone young and healthy. Vaccine requirements should only be used for certain workers such as health care workers. These requirements would not extend beyond health care, for example, the flu shot. Those who don’t take the flu shot are doing so at their own risk.
The pandemic response needs to be focused on reducing death, illness, and disability and not just being pro-vaccine. The U.S. has a strong population immunity in several parts. These areas are also immune to the delta variant.