Letters Sept. 14: Individual choices and vaccination; PM should always take the high ground

No man is an island, so get vaccinated

As a health-care provider, hearing the anti-vaccine sentiment not only saddens me but frightens me.

I fully understand there are people who, for medical reasons, cannot get vaccinated. But those who are making a conscious choice to not get vaccinated are failing to understand there are individual decisions and there are societal decisions.

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You choose to get tattoos? Individual choice. You choose to drink until your liver gives up — individual choice, it affects you personally.

You choose to drink and drive — societal choice. Not only are you risking your own life, you risk harming innocent people. That’s why it is illegal.

You choose not to get a vaccine — societal choice. You risk not only your life, but you risk the lives of family, friends, innocent bystanders who put themselves at risk every day by merely showing up for work to keep society running.

Health-care workers are burning out. Our health-care system is on the verge of collapse. If we are not careful, not only will there be no one to treat COVID patients, there will be no one there to provide care for day-to-day health concerns.

It’s already happening.

We need to move from a ME society to a WE society. People cite our right to freedom of choice but we have to remember where that right to freedom came from … people who paid the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, so that we may enjoy a free society.

Heading off to war was what was best for the greater good, not the individual. People are being asked to get vaccinated … for the greater good.

In comparison to previous generations, it seems a very small price to pay.

The facts are there. The risks of getting the vaccine are so low compared to that of contracting COVID. Getting vaccinated is the responsible choice, it is the loving choice, not only for yourself, but for your fellow human beings. No man is an island.

Barb Tighe, community pharmacist

Respectful discourse can still have passion

As I passed by Victoria city hall on Monday, I had to navigate through the protesters, vaxxers on one side of the street, and anti-vaxxers, only talking distance away, across the rainbow crosswalk.

When I returned, there were people on opposite sides shouting arguments at one another. I stopped, stood close to the crosswalk, and, in order to make the point, shouted: “Why don’t you stop shouting and have a calm, reasonable discussion?”

One gentleman, placard held high, strode up to stand quite close to me, and shouted: “Aw, c’mon man! You gotta get the blood boiling!”

I stood for a second, somewhat dumbstruck, before one of his colleagues approached, stood just behind him, and said calmly to me: “You’re right, sir. We need to talk about it.”

In a democracy we have a right to protest, but shouting and arguing can be as violent and detrimental as physical aggression, and can result in a lack of interest in learning, less ability to clearly express oneself, a degradation of communication simply because one wants to be able say one won the argument, more vehement vitriol, and an outright, pointless hatred for fellow members of the community.

To participate in respectful discourse does not indicate a lack of passion. It shows that one is willing to learn the thoughts of different people and to understand why people have those thoughts, to learn more facts about the topic, and to be able to adjust one’s stance if the implementation of the new information might be advantageous.

Protesters from all sides might do well to stand together on one side of the street (on a picture of a rainbow would be nice), and to have a proper conversation, thus perhaps contributing to societal improvements from which everyone can benefit.

Paul Austin

No real idea about what ‘oppressive’ means

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter calling Canada an oppressive country. The writer obviously has no experience as to what the word really means.

To start with, in a truly oppressive country he would never have had his letter published. Oppressive countries do not allow civil disobedience, indeed if he lived in one he might already be on his way to a camp to be re-educated for questioning the authority of the government.

It is because we are free to state our opinions that half-baked statements like “tyranny and dictatorship” in the context of COVID and Canada see the light of day.

No one is forced to carry a vaccination passport, but for myself, as a very senior citizen, I am happy I will know for sure that the people next to me at the gym or the cinema have proven that they are no threat to my health.

A small symbol saved to a cellphone is a small price to pay for that sort of security.

Jan M’Ghee

Denying medical care is a hateful conclusion

Reading through recent letters to the editor, I’ve witnessed a truly breathtaking combination of arrogance and ignorance on the part of those who have scapegoated fellow citizens who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

These letter-writers actually declare that their thinking is superior to that of other people who they don’t agree with; this is merely gaslighting dissent, declaring anyone who doesn’t think the way they do is crazy/stupid/delusional. Vilifying the unvaccinated and urging that they be denied medical care is the hateful conclusion drawn by this self-righteous mob.

I urge our province to follow the example of the U.K. and Denmark and drop the vaccine passport and end this hateful social division.

J.P. Gibson
Brentwood Bay

Anti-vaccine people are hurting everyone

We keep hearing people who are anti-vaccine using the argument that it is a personal decision they are entitled to make.

This is not true. When they become infected and spread the virus, they are imposing life-threatening illness on others.

Bill Gibson

Do employers have cause to fire?

In the aftermath of the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot, several employers recognized their wayward employees and several were fired.

Employers take a look at the vaccine protest videos and have a short chat with your free-thinking, not-so-stellar workers.

Robert Irvine

Time for a big stick in dealing with COVID

The Canadian Institute for Health Information has released a report indicating the average cost of COVID-19 treatment in Canada is $23,000 and that COVID ICU care is $50,000.

All when there is a vaccine that is safe, effective and available at no cost to individuals, but likely costs taxpayers about $100 per dose.

We are now far enough into the pandemic to know, with certainty, that vaccines work and are safe and effective. Almost 90 per cent of COVID hospitalizations are unvaccinated individuals.

While I commend health officials over the past 18 months in trying to educate, it’s time to put away the carrot and bring out a stick. A big stick.

As of say, Oct. 30, anyone entering the health-care system with COVID who is unvaccinated should have to pay for the cost of their care and go to the back of the line for treatment.

Such action respects the right of people to choose to be unvaccinated. It also respects the vast majority of citizens who are simply fed up with the anti-vaccine crowd and who don’t want to pay the extreme costs of COVID care, particularly when a safe and effective solution is there for the taking.

More importantly, it would free up critical hospital space for thousands of Canadians that have had treatment put off, such as cancer and heart patients.

Jonathan Purdie

How about just taking the high ground?

A letter-writer suggests that Justin Trudeau should respond to the anti-vaxxer mobs similarly to what his father did in his response to a restive crowd in Salmon Arm: Insult them.

Firstly, the younger Trudeau has made a six-year career of this, so nothing left for him there.

Secondly, the current PM could then consider the Jean Chrétien Shawinigan Handshake: the brief strangling of a protester.

But cooler heads might prevail and the current PM might simply do the obvious: Say clearly that the anti-vaxxers are acting in a un-Canadian way. Take the high ground and leave it at that.

Clay Atcheson


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