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  • robertsherrick

Thoughts on the Covid vaccine

There has been a cultural divide in our country over whether to get a Covid vaccine or not. One side argues that getting the vaccine is a personal decision and other people should not force those who don’t want a vaccine to get one. Others are concerned about those who decline vaccination and how that affects reaching “herd immunity” and finally getting over this pandemic.

One point that both sides can probably agree on is that of personal responsibility – that people should have the freedom to make the choices they wish, but also that people must be prepared to accept responsibility for their actions. For instance, if my decision not to get a job causes me to be poor, then that is my problem, not everyone else’s. If my decision to commit a crime causes me to go to jail, then those were the consequences of my actions. Every decision we make has consequences, and our decisions can affect ourselves and others.

The problem with the concept that no one else should care whether you have gotten a vaccine or not is that your decision affects not only yourself but also others. If you have decided not to be vaccinated, then you become a higher risk to transmit the virus to others, and also at higher risk to require high-cost medical care that must be paid for by others (even if you have health insurance, we all contribute to paying medical costs through our premiums).

Every American should have the freedom to make their own decision whether to get vaccinated or not. However, every person should also bear the consequences of their choices. Since those who have been vaccinated might not want to be exposed to a higher risk from you, there may be some restrictions placed on you because you decided not to get vaccinated. Since you might be at higher risk of needing expensive medical care, you should be prepared to pay higher insurance premiums. Consequences of your decision could involve having to change professions (say if you work in the health care field among people at high risk of Covid complications), having to wear a mask in public when vaccinated people do not, being restricted from certain activities that involve close contact with others (such as air travel, concerts, or indoor dining), or being banned from other countries that don’t want to accept the higher risk you present to them.

Accepting personal responsibility is a fundamental principle in our country. People should not expect a “free ride” and are accountable for their decisions. Those who decide not to get vaccinated but don’t want to accept the consequences of their actions are “freeloaders.”

Through HB 702, passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Gianforte, the state of Montana has used the power of “big government” to protect freeloaders. This bill makes it against the law to treat an unvaccinated person any different from one who is vaccinated. This bill violates the principles of personal freedom and responsibility that are the bedrock of our great country. The legislators that supported this travesty, as well as our governor, need to hear from us voters at the next election that this is not acceptable, and that we need to get back to our roots as a strong, independent, and responsible nation.

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