Antivaxxers

I’m not one of them. I have had my two shots as well as my booster and, no doubt if offered another COVID-19 injection I will be there in the queue. I have also had all my injections at school and my children have had theirs so I can’t be accused of being against vaccinations. I think we can safely state that the most significant reason for the increase in human population over the last century or so has been the successful inoculation against infectious diseases.

Why then are there so many people out there who are against being vaccinated against COVID-19?

It is easy to dismiss them as crackpots, conspiracy theorists or people at the fringes of society yet this is not the case. For some perhaps but not all. It is easy to get annoyed at the disinformation that is promoted through the media, yet there is so much of that about all subjects these days it is hard to decide what is true and what is not.

There is something else afoot. The last time I read the figures there were still around 100,000 people working in the health sector that were not vaccinated. If health workers are concerned then we should all have reason to stop and think.

We should question the reasons behind their decisions not to get vaccinated. Perhaps people are in denial, distrustful of the government (there is plenty of reason to be so), worried about potential unknown long term consequences (think Thalidomide) or think it is wrong that governments should be allowed to dictate what its citizens can or cannot do with their own bodies.

I have a lot of sympathy with many of these concerns. Nobody knows how the future will pan out and life is full of risks. I have made the decision however to go with the flow, despite any concerns.

I do worry that we are taking an ever more draconian stance to those people who have not been vaccinated, threatening them with the loss of their job or castigating them in other ways. We still live in a form of democracy where people have a large degree of autonomy and right to self-determination. Why should we want to discard this for the sake of people’s beliefs and concerns? Discussion and persuasion should always prevail over threat.

As Professor Wayne Szalinski said ‘A clenched fist never won an argument.’

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