September 29, 2021

To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate - There really isn't a question

I guess it’s time to give my Piece of Mind on the whole covid vaccination/no-vaccination argument. 

When the vaccination was first announced, my initial thought was, “I’m not getting vaccinated”.  To be clear, I’m not anti-vaccination by any means.  I’ve had a variety of them throughout my life after all, and have ensured that my son has been vaccinated all along too.  I just didn’t want a vaccination because I’ve always been really healthy and know that any flu or cold only gives you little more immunity for next time.  However, Covid is different.  It has been from the start.  It’s highly contagious and more virulent than your regular flu.  When I sat and gave it some heartfelt thought, I realized several things: 

1.  I’m older (over 55) and have had to deal with some recent personal health issues;

2.  I have an older husband (over 60) with underlying, pre-existing health issues;

3.  I have two people in my life – a sister-in-law and a best friend – who are going

     through treatments for cancer and so their immune systems are compromised;

4.  I work in a closed First Nation community with the natives deemed high-risk.

These considerations all made the decision pretty easy.  Fortunately for me, the government prioritized First Nations to the front of the line when distributing the vaccines and the governing council of the reserve decided that all staff members who worked on the reserve, but who were not members of the First Nation community, would be offered the vaccine.  To make it even more helpful, they also decided to include staff members’ families who reside at the same residence and therefore were considered to be within that person’s “bubble”.  This is how me, my husband, and our son were vaccinated near the beginning and I truly appreciate the consideration of the First Nation in doing that for us. 

Now, our provincial government has declared that everyone must have proof of vaccination (or valid medical exemption) in order to go into businesses that are deemed ‘non-essential’.  This includes dining in at restaurants, hair salons, fitness clubs, etc.  Ironically, although I must have proof of vaccination in order to dine in, the servers and other staff are not required to have proof of vaccination to work there.  Although I do understand the logic (i.e., you can’t force people to vaccinate for their job except in hospitals and certain other settings), I do think that part wasn’t really well thought out by the government.  What will happen though, is that the poor worker at the front door of your local restaurant, aside from finding you a booth, will now be the one who has to verify your vaccination status.  This will definitely lead to some hot heads in the coming days. 

There are many arguments on both sides of this.  I believe one of the strongest is the whole issue of your personal health information being confidential as per PHIPPA (Personal Health Information Privacy Protection Act).  People have lost their jobs over intentional or accidental breaches of this Act, and as individuals we have long been told to guard our personal information.  Now the government wants you to voluntarily (not really) prove that you have received the Covid vaccine.  Arguably, failure to do so when requested therefore tells everyone that you have not been vaccinated – which is still giving up personal health information.

From the perspective of someone who has been vaccinated, I like the thought of perhaps not having to practice such stringent avoidance among other similarly vaccinated people.  As for the unvaccinated…I’ve got nothing for you.  Most anti-vaxxers I’ve discussed the issue with say, “If you’re vaccinated and the virus will be not so bad for you if you get it, why are you worried about me?”  The simple answer is that I’m not really worried about whether you get it or not, or whether I give it to you or you give it to me.  I’m worried about getting into a car accident and needing to be in the ICU at the local hospital, but you’re using what should be “my” bed because you got sick with Covid.  If you’d had the vaccine, the virus would likely not have been so bad that you needed hospitalization. 

Out in western Canada it’s so bad that hospitals are at capacity with 90% of their Covid patients being unvaccinated.  Ninety percent!  That is not a small number by any means.  They are talking about potentially having to triage and prioritize their patients.  This means that they will essentially have to decide who receives potentially life-saving treatment and who doesn’t.  Personally, and this is somewhat harsh, I say that if you can’t be bothered to get vaccinated, then when I need a bed at the hospital and I have been vaccinated, let’s put you in the hall, or even back in your car and send you home, and let those who really give a crap about their personal health and that of others have the bed.