Before year 2020, what does not kill me makes me stronger. After the year 2020, it mutates and tries again. Freedom in the Unites States means you can choose to die if you wish. You have the right to refuse to wear a mask, and the organizations that you visit have the right to refuse you entry into their property if you decline to wear said mask. The reason these organizations have the right to refuse your entry is because you do not have the right to infect other people. When your rights impose a risk to other citizens, it becomes a societal problem.
Historically, free speech in the United States has seen limitations. You cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theatre. Free speech ends when it threatens lives of other citizens. Citizens have been tried for manslaughter when they urged other citizens to kill themselves. The great thing about the United States is that you may listen and follow the advice, no matter how naïve, of other citizens. If that advice results in your demise, then the mistake is yours, a decision you are free to make.
You may believe that you have the right to consume intoxicants and operate a vehicle, but if your behavior threatens the safety of other citizens, that right impinges on other citizens who have the right to be protected from your behavior. As a citizen, you have the right to refuse vaccination, which in some cases, has cost people their lives. Social media has become saturated with uncredentialed self-proclaimed “experts” who have found numerous reasons why you shouldn’t be vaccinated. These experts have reasons too long to discuss in this essay. Statistically speaking, there is, and I will not deny it, a small amount of risk if you get vaccinated, since the vaccine has not been tested on millions of people, but that risk is very, very small.
Vaccination is not our government attempting to control our lives, and anyone who says it is, is poorly informed or naïve. Even if you skip vaccination because of your personal beliefs, while that is your right, you are deliberately endangering other citizens. The vaccination is not the government imposing its will upon you, it is the government protecting its citizens. Believe it nor not, you are alive because of the efforts of our government, or, more specifically, the efforts of your fellow citizens, the scientists who create vaccines. Without taking into account isolation, the scientists estimate that between sixty and seventy percent of the population must be vaccinated in order for the virus to stop. If thirty percent of the population refuses, the virus will rage through the population. The media has shown infected people who skipped the opportunity to be vaccinated, and greatly regret not doing so, as, even if the vaccine doesn’t make you immune, the vaccine greatly diminishes the harm of the virus.
The right to refuse vaccination comes with it the right to die, and COVID-19 is far from the first vaccination that protected American society.
Let’s talk about rights and choices for a moment. Hospitals have no right to refuse you treatment, but, if you have deliberately taken an unnecessary risk, perhaps they should be given the right to refuse treatment to you. I am not referring to people who didn’t take the vaccine because their doctors advised them not to take it because of health risks, I am referring to people who deliberately refused to be vaccinated.
Health insurance companies charge people more money who smoke because of the high probability of illnesses smoking causes, and those who deliberately refuse vaccination should be forced to pay higher insurance premiums. In the event of limited resources, hospitals should be given the option to refuse to treat those people who deliberately and inexcusably refused vaccination, because they took an unnecessary risk that, ultimately, other citizens are funding. Those who took the vaccine should be given priority in the event of limited resources.
Seven months after my first vaccination, my doctor told me, after a blood test, that I had enough antibodies in my system that were I to be infected with COVID-19, the worst it would do would be to take away my senses of smell and taste. This was exactly what happened. Knowing that my physician was scientifically trained, his prediction was not a guess, it was a prediction based upon science and knowledge.
The right to refuse vaccination comes with it the right to die, and COVID-19 is far from the first vaccination that protected American society. Please ask those who challenge the COVID-19 vaccine if the vaccines that eliminated previously deadly and crippling diseases in the past were a conspiracy as well. Crippling and fatal infections such as smallpox, polio, and numerous others have been eliminated because of vaccinations. Before I was accepted into kindergarten, my parents had to prove that I had been vaccinated, in order to protect my fellow classmates. Choosing to refuse a vaccination is gambling with one’s life, but if people refuse to take vaccination, they are free to die, and I, for one, will not mourn their passing; they made a choice, and it was a bad choice that cost them their lives. Too bad, so sad.
Over eight-hundred thousand Americans have passed away from COVID-19, and I suspect that the number of COVID-19 deaths is much higher, because of other health problems that were exacerbated by the virus, and their deaths were recorded as caused by other illnesses that COVID complicated. Life insurance companies are paying out policies in numbers that they haven’t seen since the last epidemic in 1918.
At some point, making personal choices threatens the lives of other citizens. Adding to the danger to other citizens is the stress that ignoring a vaccine puts upon the health care system, thus denying or reducing the available care for one’s fellow citizens from an illness that is preventable. Many of us are alive today because of vaccinations decades ago, and to deny that fact is sheer foolishness. While the right of personal choices remains, as more and more bad choices are made, more and more citizens will perish needlessly. While I no longer sympathize with those who voluntarily refuse, I invoke the rule of unintended consequences. If not for you, for your family and fellow citizens. Talk to your doctor and stop believing uncredentialed conspiracy theorists.
Jeffrey Neil Jackson is an
Educator & Literary Mercenary