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OPINION: Boost economy with vaccination

by Robert Box | April 28, 2021 at 5:25 a.m.

I want to get back to a normal way of living, and this pandemic is causing me too many problems. I want to be able to attend a concert, a sports event, go to a movie, or at least have dinner in a restaurant. But, unfortunately, even with many people getting vaccinated, it still is too risky.

With about half of the white people in our country and somewhere around a third of our military personnel refusing to be vaccinated and, for various reasons, people of color are not receiving a vaccination, the probability of us reaching "herd" immunity (80 percent) has become difficult or impossible to achieve. So, what can we do?

Well, for one thing, we can require people to prove they have been vaccinated -- perhaps using a covid-19 passport card. Yes, I know there is a concerted effort in our country to push against such a thing, claiming that it is an "invasion of our privacy," but I would argue that this argument is flimsy at best. To begin with, I am not sure we have personal privacy any longer.

There is no reason to consider the facts; just consider our experiences. You cannot drive a car without proving you can drive by having a license; you cannot go to school without proof you have been vaccinated against various diseases; you cannot purchase alcoholic beverages or consume them publicly unless you prove you are above a certain age and are not drunk; you cannot purchase a gun and carry it without proving you know how to use it and have a license; you cannot get a speeding ticket and keep it private because, after it has been processed, it has become public; and, most of our real estate and personal property appears to be public knowledge since the communication I receive daily reveals too much about my private life. In fact, it is almost impossible for a self-designated individual to commit suicide, either by using deadly force or taking the slow approach by exposure to a deadly disease, since our insurance companies are not going to honor those decisions.

So, when someone says they do not want a vaccination card because of "privacy" issues, please forgive me, but I don't really believe them. WHO, CDC, Kaiser Family Foundation, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services all verify that we already have vaccine passports. The two main ones affect malaria and yellow fever. Other countries are now requiring proof of covid-19 vaccination before allowing people into their countries. So, if you want to travel abroad, you had better have some kind of proof of your covid-19 vaccination.

We need to be realistic. The apparent reason why some people are reluctant to endorse a vaccination card has nothing to do with privacy; it is either political or, more likely, it's because someone doesn't want to take the shot. That argument hinges upon their conviction that I can do whatever I want to do with my own life and you can't make me do something I don't want to do, especially decide for me which business I may enter. I don't necessarily disagree with this thinking, but it falls short of reality. When I meet someone not wearing a mask, he or she may think he is exercising his freedom to be independent but, in reality, he is only thinking of himself, not about others.

A person may have the freedom to make personal life and death choices but not to make them for others. Making personal choices is one thing, but making them for others is different and wrong. Refusing to be vaccinated may sound like an independent choice, but it really is also a decision to ignore the rest of the people in the world. It hurts and even kills other people while causing a disaster in the economic world.

Think about it for a moment. If someone had to prove he or she was vaccinated before entering a crowd of other people, what would it do for our business world? Think about the billions of dollars of revenue obtained with full athletic stadiums, restaurants, theaters, social events, musical performances and others. It's necessary to limit attendance now because you do not know who might be in your area, but if everyone attending has been vaccinated, the chance of catching a virus becomes minute.

You want to boost the economy? Great! Require a vaccination card that allows businesses to open only to those proving they have been vaccinated and watch the stock market jump off the chart as businesses and jobs flourish once again. It's not a matter of privacy for me; it's a matter of common sense. It's time to stop catering to people who interfere with our economy and normal lifestyle and get back to a sense of normalcy. Requiring a person to prove he or she has been vaccinated in order to enter a public place would encourage those refusing to be vaccinated to get a shot immediately.

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Robert Box is the former chaplain for the Bella Vista Police Department and is currently the Fire Department chaplain. Opinions expressed are those of the author.


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