Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

We Don't Need Everyone Vaccinated in Order to Reopen

Conditioning a return to normal life on the unnecessary conformity of individuals living in a free society is wrong.

In his latest newsletter, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin wrote, "The sooner people get vaccinated, the sooner we can more completely reopen businesses." His implication is that only once a threshold percent of the population receives their Covid-19 vaccination may society return to pre-pandemic norms. The notion that a return to normal social behaviors depends on the agreement of a very large segment, if not the totality, of the population agreeing to an injection that is, incidentally, not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is as ridiculous as it is dangerous.

We do not need everyone to get a Covid-19 vaccination in order to return to normal society. Frankly, we never needed the government to shut social and business life down at any point during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Instead, people should have been given access to as much information from as many different sources as possible about the virus, methods of infection, and its risks. Then people should have been allowed to pursue whatever course of action each saw fit. If businesses wanted to require masks, they could do so. If they did not, they should not have been required to do so. And individuals could then have decided, based on their own fears and wishes, which type of business they wanted to patronize. Individuals could have decided they did not want to patronize any business at all but conduct their lives from their homes. This should have been a free decision by citizens, not a governmental decree.

It is not the job of government to prevent people from taking risks, even potentially deadly risks. Those who have been vaccinated should not be held hostage by those who have chosen not to. If some people would rather take a chance on catching Covid-19 than get a vaccination, then that is their business. It is not up to the government to force anyone to 'protect' them by mandating the continued wearing of masks or by denying them the right to gather in a normal manner outdoors, indoors, or anywhere.

The existence of various coronavirus variants does not change this calculus. These variants have existed locally for months, and if they were going to take a serious hold on the population or if they were resistant to the vaccine, this would have been evident by now. Besides, there will always be variants. There will always be new reasons, however frail, for people in power to attempt to wield that power over others.

The initial lockdown in California began March 19, 2020. That was well over a year ago. The forced shutdown by our elected government of all manner of social interaction, including private gatherings in private residences, was a monumental overreach of their power and authority. Because of the fear surrounding this new and poorly understood disease, this overreach was largely unopposed. But the situation is different in May of 2021. Far more is known about Covid-19, effective palliatives are available, and a vaccine is free and accessible to all. It's time to retrieve the freedom we have given up for too long and which never should have been wrested from us in the first place.


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