June 22nd, 2024

Should vaccines be mandatory for health workers?

By Al Bieber on September 4, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

A friend the other day sent me a quote regarding COVID-19 that I found really profound given how the fourth wave is now smashing into us.
I don’t know the author of the quote or where it originated but it makes a good point:
“If you don’t trust doctors and science to keep you from getting sick, why are you clogging up hospitals to trusting them to cure you?”
With 90 per cent of Canada’s COVID cases now being people who aren’t vaccinated, that speaks volumes about the value of vaccines. It also makes a person seriously question why people aren’t trusting science.
There seems to be just a bit of hypocrisy among people who want medical services but are willing to risk the lives of other people, never mind themselves, by refusing to be vaccinated.
That should tell us something – that vaccines work.
Why is is that suddenly people start believing and asking for the vaccine when they’re on their death beds, a story which we’ve read too often since vaccinations became available?
Like an inmate facing execution who suddenly finds God on the gallows, it’s a little too late for these people to find redemption and salvation, at least in this life.
Nobody has to make the deadly choice to go unvaccinated – the vaccines are available and given how many millions have trusted them with no side effects, it is clear getting the needle is the right choice for everyone if we are going to get this pandemic under control.
A colleague late last week brought up another issue, which should also be concerning to people, namely that some in the medical fraternity won’t get vaccinated.
This is absolutely outrageous when these so-called professionals are in the health-care field. Their job is to save lives, not put them at risk.
We’ve all read or seen stories of medical practitioners refusing the vaccine.
By doing so they are jeopardizing the health and lives of the people they are supposed to be helping.
While details aren’t available for all provinces from what I’ve read, one recent story said only 80 per cent of Manitoba’s health care workers had gotten at least one shot by July. That leaves about 20 per cent still unvaccinated and putting at risk other people.
As of mid-July, almost one in 10 long-term healthcare workers in Ontario hadn’t received their first shot. That means 10 per cent are at risk of giving COVID-19 to an elderly person.
I agree with the sentiment expressed to me by this co-worker that people in the healthcare profession should be required to show proof of vaccination before they are allowed to work.
Some will say this is an intrusion of rights but nobody has the right to kill someone and refusing a vaccination could be a death sentence for another person.
What about the innocents’ right to live? Should that be infringed upon because, of all people, a health-care worker, refuses to believe science?
The extremists in our world will undoubtedly say “sure! We live in a free country!” But nobody is free to risk someone’s else’s life.
We don’t let drunk drivers off the hook because they don’t believe alcohol or drugs will impair their reflexes when science clearly shows they do.
Vaccine opponents – perhaps while taking horse de-worming medication as an alternative to a COVID-19 vaccine – may also say such a rule is unfair.
But fairness is subjective: if we disagree with something, then it’s easy to bring up fairness on any subject from hockey game penalties to municipal bylaws to tax rates.
Why should people be let off the hook because they don’t believe in vaccinations?
As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc, it’s a question that needs to be asked by everyone, especially our political leaders.
And action is needed to protect us from those who feel unjustly they have the freedom to kill strangers or even their friends and neighbours by their refusal to be vaccinated.
It’s time to get tough with the unvaccinated just like the courts have gotten tough with impaired drivers.
Both can kill senselessly. And those in the healthcare field should be showing leadership by ensuring they are all vaccinated to protect the people in their care – and themselves from catching it from those who refused to accept the science and left themselves susceptible to this scourge.
This pandemic is not going to ease up unless we all take precautions and I’m glad the province has reinstituted a mask mandate and other measures.
While I don’t always agree with decisions made by city council, I was 100 per cent behind Mayor Chris Spearman on this matter.
Before hearing NDP leader Rachel Notley speak Friday afternoon, I supported the idea of a vaccine passport and I have to say to Notley’s credit, she’s absolutely right that we do need one, which would be perhaps the perfect fix. The UCP needs to look at this idea while the new masking mandate is entrenched and see if it’s doable here because we need to get COVID under control again before even more people end up in hospital and more lives are lost.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter

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Very well said Al.