This debate has been going on for over a year now and it does not show signs of dying any time soon. If anything, the opponents of the vaccine are becoming more organized and more vocal in their protest to stand their ground. In general, they advocate for their right to choose to not be vaccinated and that they should not lose their job, be banned from attending public events or to be painted as the villains of the ongoing pandemic as a consequence of their choice. They are steamed up!
Many people on the other side of this issue say they have complied with the advice of the health experts and got vaccinated; not just to protect their own health but for the wellbeing of society in general. They did their part. And now they just want to be able to go to work, go to a restaurant, have all their family over for dinner, attend a sports game, kiss their grandbabies and hug their friends. But they can’t. And why can’t they? Because the COVID numbers are back up and hospital ICUs are swamped again; mostly with people who did do the responsible thing by getting vaccinated. They are steamed up!
Two groups of people who are adamantly divided on this hot issue – both steamed at one another. Sadly, sometimes the division is between family members! It’s enough to make one ask, is COVID-19 the big threat to our existence, or is it our inability to come to a peaceful resolution on this? We even have medical doctors who disagree on the issue. Some say if you had COVID you have developed a natural immunity to the virus and don’t need to be vaccinated. Other doctors say this is simply not true! If our medical experts don’t agree, then why in the world would we be expected to do so? On top of all that we have influential celebrities, politicians and news reporters giving advise; some for and some against. Is it any wonder that we’re confused, overwhelmed and divided?
Then, on top of the decision to get vaccinated, is the delicate issue of whether or not we have the right to ask if someone attending an event is vaccinated. There are new articles being written every day to advise how to ask the delicate question without being invasive! Boy, I bet “Dear Abbey” never saw this one coming!
Restaurant owners now have to police this issue by stopping patrons at the door and ask to see proof of vaccination and photo identification before they can allow the customer entry to their venue. Sometimes the owner is yelled at by the customer. The restaurant owner never asked for the job of verifying vaccination proof, but if they want to serve up a plate of food, they have no choice.
The following statistics for Alberta are posted on the AHS website as of Nov. 11/2021:
A total of 329,000 Albertans contracted COVID-19, there are currently 5,745 active cases, 554 are in hospital, 110 are in ICU, and 3,171 have died from Covid-19 in Alberta.
Closer to home there are 14 active cases in Chestermere as of Nov. 8, 2021.
In the early days when information on the vaccine first came out, I listened to people’s opinions on both sides and read as much as I could before I made my choice and got vaccinated over 6 months ago. Now I’m looking at getting the booster shot, which again, I will confidently do. I say confidently, because I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theory that the government is trying to control me by putting secret ingredients in the vaccine serum or that I’ve damaged/compromised my immune system by injecting this DNA altering substance. I simply don’t believe that there is any upside for the government creating a vaccine that has the risk of weakening or killing their own people. It’s too much for me to fathom that all governments worldwide have conspired together for this nefarious purpose.
However, as much as I believe in the vaccine I am not as sure about my right to make others comply. I grew up in the 60’s in Toronto and participated in many protests. We waved posters and shouted at rallies, we sang and danced at concerts, we linked arms to march down streets and we sat on the ground in silence and prayed. Mostly we were protesting war, human inequalities and environmental pollution. But on the other side of the street, there were protesters who were against our stand and shouted at us to shut up and go home. Now, 50 years later, I am not an anti-vaccine protester; I’m one of the “compliants”, which the protesters have nick named the “sheep”. Doesn’t bother me. I know of all the things I am “sheep” is not one of them. In the end, I believe in the vaccine, and I do believe it’s in the best interests of both individuals and society to get vaccinated. But I feel compelled to remember that both sides of every protest I participated in was sure that they were on the right side of the issue.
History has shown that vaccines have saved millions of lives from diseases such as smallpox, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, etc. The Spanish Flu pandemic in the early 1900’s killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide by the time herd immunity had been reached. With every safety measure we’ve taken these past 2 years we still have 5.1 million people dead from this virus. Imagine what that number would be if we had not taken these safety measures or had the vaccine. Add to that issue the “Covid Long Haulers” a group of approximately 20% of people who got Covid and never fully recovered their health.
In the early days of COVID-19 health experts spoke about the goal to achieve herd immunity through vaccination. The percentage target first introduced to us was somewhere in the 70% range. Then it moved up to 80% then 85%. Alberta is sitting at 81.8% today. If we got to 85% vaccinated, would we feel that this was enough to permit the unvaccinated population to participate in all things (work, restaurants, sports events, social gatherings in general etc.)? What about 90% vaccinated? Is there any percentage of vaccinated people that we would feel safe with? If we insist on 100% vaccinated (with exception for the immune compromised), are we inadvertently creating of 2 tiers of citizens? While I believe in the vaccine, I try to put myself in the shoes of the people who claim they have the right to refuse something they believe will do them harm. How would I feel if I was forced to make the choice to go against my belief and get vaccinated or make the very difficult decision to forfeit my job, attending any public venues and participating in group activities? This brings us to the question of the “Vaxxed vs the Unvaxxed?” Where do you stand?
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