Should Vaccinations Be Mandatory?

(DISCLAIMER: I’m not a medical healthcare professional. Please read my disclaimers page here)

With the obvious exception for those who have legitimate medical reasons, I believe that making vaccinations mandatory for COVID-19, in the current climate, can be ethically justified.

Now, to be clear, there’s a difference between mandatory vaccinations – where certain penalties are levied on you for not complying – versus compulsory vaccinations – where someone forcibly jams a needle in your arm. 

My argument is for mandatory vaccinations, not compulsory vaccinations. 

In ordinary times I would have said that education and encouraging people through other incentives is the best course of action – especially in the long run. And we certainly shouldn’t stop trying to do that, but we don’t live in ordinary times do we? 

We live in extraordinary times.

Refusing to get vaccinated is like drink-driving.

My feeling is, getting vaccinated is the covid equivalent of wearing a seatbeltIt doesn’t mean that you won’t get in a car accident – it doesn’t mean you won’t get killed either – but it’ll give you a MUCH GREATER chance of survival if you do.

Of course, seatbelts are required by law for this reason.

To give you some numbers, this summer approximately 100,000 people died from covid in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified just 2,900 people who were vaccinated among those 100,000. During the same time period vaccination rates surpassed 50%.

Another study from the C.D.C. that was published in September found that after Delta became the dominant variant, unvaccinated people were more than 10 times as likely to die of the virus as the vaccinated were. (Check out his article for more details.)

Of course, it would be one thing if the non-vaccinated only placed their own lives at greater risk. But that’s not the case.

If you kill yourself because you refuse to wear a seatbelt, it probably won’t cost others their lives. But if you catch covid because you refuse to get vaccinated, it may well cost those who otherwise would have been spared.

I would argue not getting vaccinate is worse than refusing to wear a seatbelt for this reason.

And those who refuse to get vaccinated are making it worse for everybody else. Transmissions, hospitalisations, severe illness and death are all higher among the non-vaccinated. The chances of mutations are also higher in the unvaccinated.

And so, of course, we have renewed waves and lockdown measures. But, if the plan is to prevent people from driving every time we have these waves, why are we letting drink-drivers off the hook?

I certainly agree that stopping people from driving before the seatbelt was invented was the right move. But now that seatbelt has been invented? Now that it’s been well tested for safety standards? Now that we’ve had the time to adminster them to the majority of the population? (I’m guessing this is true for most affluent nations.)

Has the time not come to make them law?

Article 2 of the Human Rights Act in the United Kingdom is the right to life.

It actually states “the Government should take appropriate measures to safeguard life by making laws to protect you and, in some circumstances, by taking steps to protect you if your life is at risk.”

A zero-crash policy where seatbelts are optional 

The main argument against is one of personal liberty. The argument that making them mandatory would be an infringement of one’s individual rights.

It’s worth pointing out, the same argument was made by those who opposed the introduction of seatbelt laws in the 1980’s.

But what about our collective rights? What about our collective freedoms?

Strictly speaking, any law that tells you must or must not do something is an infringement of one’s personal liberties. But there’s a reason why driving under the influence isn’t allowed by law. That’s because it puts other people’s lives at risk.

There is no greater infringement to one’s freedoms and rights than death.

Ironically, the only individual choice that people have left here in Hong Kong, when it comes to fighting COVID-19, is whether we choose to get vaccinated or not. With this odd exception, we have some of the strictest measures in place anywhere in the world.

I almost wonder if it’s not deliberate?

The pandemic has provided the perfect opportunity to enact some extremely shady laws here. It’s allowed the government to put the shutters up at the same time. 

The government have said they won’t open up without higher vaccination rates. But those rates – like elsewhere in the world – are starting to plateau. 

It seems to me, without making vaccinations mandatory, we are stuck in limbo. 

We are imprisoned. 

It’s disheartening to know that many of my fellow prisoners are happy with this arrangement. They say, “Why would I wear a seatbelt if there are no accidents here?”

But the only way to maintain what is, effectively, a zero-crash policy where seatbelts are optional, is to severely restrict the liberties of the aircrew body. The very drivers those prisoners depend on. 

Of course, vaccinations are mandatory for aircrew. I got mine as soon as I could back in March this year. I just had my third booster shot. I naively thought this would lead to greater freedoms. Sadly, the restrictions imposed upon us have only gotten worse. 

Much worse. 

Recently over 200 people – made up of crew plus their families – were thrown into a government isolation camp after three pilots tested positive on return from Germany. These were the first pilot’s to test positive this year following 140,000 negative test results. 

Despite this exemplary record, the government decided to impose a host of new restrictions on top of our existing ones. To the point where it’s now getting very hard to have a life outside of our own apartments.

I might add, that trio who tested positive were later fired for what was deemed a “serious breach of protocol.”

When you refuse to take responsibility for your freedoms you lose them.

I don’t bring this up for a vote of sympathy, but to give you an idea what things are like when your freedoms really have been impinged. But also, to make a point about equality.

Mandates are already in place in much of the world. They’re nothing new. Many frontline workers – medical care professional and the like – have already been mandated. I am part of that group. 

Although I object to many of the draconian measures my Government have placed on the aircrew here, mandating vaccinations is not one of them. They don’t want aircrew to be drinking and driving on the job. I felt that was more than fair.

But, so long as our misery persists, so long as a significant proportion of the vulnerable remain unvaccinated, so long as we are made to wait for that to happen, I feel like the aircrew and other frontline staff have been extremely hard done by.

I don’t believe it is fair, in light of the circumstance, in light of a pandemic where we are all drivers, that the mandate should only apply to frontline workers. 

I think those who protest their right not to get vaccinated would do well to remember all those frontline staff – those worst affected by this thing, those who are are simply getting on with it and trying to save lives – who have had already had mandates issued against them. 

In my eyes, in the name of equality, a mandate that is applied to the whole population is fair. One that is only issued to those groups who are worst affected isn’t.

I’ll make one last point: Getting vaccinated is a vote for freedom.

If you ask me, those protesting the right to not get vaccinated aren’t fighting for freedom. They’re fighting for a false idea of what they believe freedom means. 

Many people mistake freedom for this idea that they can do whatever they like free from responsibility. But the paradox of freedom is that you must take responsibility for it, otherwise you lose it. 

If that choice only relates to your own freedoms that’s one thing, but when they effect everybody else’s, we’ve got problems. 

If you drive without a seatbelt you risk the consequences, but if you drive while under the influence… I think we can all agree that’s unacceptable.

We should try to protect as many lives as we possibly can. But, in the name of freedom, I believe we must protect the right to drive as well. 

That choice should be given to those willing to do so responsibly. But for those who refuse, perhaps they deserve to have their licenses revoked?

What do you think?

***

You can find more of AP2’s work here at: https://pointlessoverthinking.com

You can also find him on Medium at: https://anxiouspilot2.medium.com

Or on Twitter at: @AnxiousPilot

22 thoughts on “Should Vaccinations Be Mandatory?

  • My dad once told me about the time when wearing seatbelts became the law. People pitched a fit then, too. It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple thing that could save your life, there’s always someone who can’t handle change and comes up with every excuse to deny it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I mention that in the post. The reaction was very similar to what we’re hearing now from anti-vaxers. Interestingly many of those who opposed seatbelt laws in the 1980s went so far as to compare those who proposed them to Hitler. You should have a read of the comment below yours 👇. History repeats itself
      it seems. Thanks for stopping by Ang. Hope you’re well 🙏

      Like

  • Creating the conditions by which the government can create mandatory conditions is very dangerous. Compelling people through marketing (which is what is happening now) is one thing, Im okay with that. There is one thing you didnt, and many who have your positions dont address is what if your wish becomes reality?

    Lets progress it forward, what happens to people who dont get vaccinated? Are they put in prison in your scenario? Are they mandated to stay in their house? If so, will police be posted at their residence to ensure they dont go out? Will you be reporting on their movements? Then there is that other undesirable outcome of precedent. So this becomes mandatory, then the next pandemic comes along and you dont think its a pandemic.

    It’s all abstract when the conditions favor your point of view. I personally find your rational and explanation appalling but I support your right to your opinion and it doesnt change my feelings on your blog I still think its excellent. I just pray you never get what you want (in this instance) and I am fully vaccinated, booster too, by my own free will.

    I would encourage you to read about the world in 1930 and how fascism started. Not the atrocities of Nazi’s, but the origins of how that mentality became prevalent. The similarities to the current social construct are alarming.

    Take care AP, another great post from you.

    Liked by 4 people

    • But lots of things are mandatory – like seatbelts. Why is that different? I really struggle to understand? Drink driving results in a jail sentence for very good reasons. It’s about protecting people’s right to life and freedoms. Nothing else. What the punishment should be is, of course, another debate. I certainly don’t think governments should go as far as jail sentences or any of your other projected fears about what those might be – and never would I suggest anything as extreme as that. Many people have simply been grossly and unfairly misled and misinformed after all. But I don’t believe, in the name of equality, you can mandate one group and not others – especially when we all drivers of this pandemic. It’s all or nothing in my eyes. The precedent was already started when frontline workers were given mandates.

      Listen I appreciate it’s just your opinion, but if you’re going to compare my argument to fascism I would like some concrete examples to back it up from your side. That’s an extremely strong position to take on your part. I feel that label/association is deeply unfair. But I do respect your opinion. I just need more than that to rethink my argument. I’m always keen and open to changing my point of view.

      And I would point out that the exact same kind of insults were thrown at those who proposed seatbelt laws in the 1980s. The same fears you mentioned were thrown about too. How many lives have those laws saved over the years? No nazi sate resulted. (I’m honestly amazed that this is what I’m debating.)

      Anyway, I appreciate you weighing in all the same and challenging my thoughts. Take it easy Karac.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hit reply quickly, let me clarify I few things. Im not trying to convince you of anything. I stopped trying to get people to change their minds online years ago. The fascism comment stands alone, when the government, and individuals create the conditions by which people can be classed by a single issue (like race, religion, compliance to a mandate) that is without question a corollary to fascism. The worst part is it never starts from a place of malice but from a place of fear.

        This is your blog, and Im not here to rip you down. Im going to bow out here, but I will read your reply should you make one. This is your corner of the web, you get the last word. Take care

        Liked by 2 people

      • I wouldn’t mind so much if you offered a coherent argument so I could really go away and do some deep thinking. But you’ve simply made a judgement and then held it as absolute. And you tell me my Rhetoric is alarming? And yes it is my blog. I would never come into your house a throw a label like fascism your way – especially for making a coherent well researched argument in favour of a law for the purpose of trying to save hundreds of thousands of lives. How very Hitler of me. An issue that effects us all is simply an issue that effects us all. I could classify everyone as humans – is that a corollary to fascism? By the way, what about a single issue like say murder or rape? Should we not classify them as criminals? You can hardly put a mandate for health reasons of health and safety in the same bracket as race and religion anyhow. But even so, a classification isn’t the same as discrimination. Discrimination is unequal treatment based on classification. A mandate that includes everybody is equal regardless as to whether or not you agree with it. So long as it just applies to the most vulnerable/front line workers – it is unequal. But it’s unequal towards those groups, not the unvaccinated.

        And yes, I am sacred. I’m not going to deny the fact that millions dying because of a pandemic is a little frightening. My job has been extremely stressful as a pilot. I’m under immense pressure. I worry about catching Covid and the consequences that would have for my family and I. I’m scared for my family, my colleagues, my community… The political situation here is dire. This sort of article if it got back to me would mean my job. A job that I’m seriously worried about losing because of everything at any rate. I didn’t make the argument for validation or to be right. I stand by my argument because I genuinely believe in what I have to say. I also believe in using my voice to help people. I want them to really see the merits of my argument. To look at the evidence. What the science community is desperately trying to tell us. I really want people to understand what a grave and serious thing it is for a fit and healthy individual to refuse to get vaccinated during a global pandemic that is costing hundreds of thousands their lives and many more their freedoms. We’ve lost all sense of meaning when it comes to death and just how precious life is. It’s like Stalin said, “one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.”

        AND, to defend my honour, if you want a corollary to fascism you need only look at a certain former president who claimed election fraud and then encouraged supporters to storm the Capitol building. A man who continues to spin lie after lie to the point many of his supporters have become so removed from reality they are willing to attack others for arguing in favour of a law that would protect their very lives. Instead of actually debating them on the issue. There are few examples I can think of as frighteningly similar to the way Hitler gained power. Trumpism has all the hallmarks of fascism Karac. That is something to fear far more than a mandate for the sole purpose of saving life’s and protecting freedoms.

        Once again thank you for taking the time to read and comment karac. I DO appreciate your honesty. I just wish you’d really take the time to think about the merits of my argument here, to dig deeper. To challenge your own viewpoint. But also give me more to work on from your side, to help me understand so I can do that same.

        Like

  • I find the arguments likening any of this to Nazism really appalling. There are all kinds of laws restricting our freedom to prevent harm to society. There are consequences to the choices that people make, and if they choose not to get vaccinated, I think it’s an appropriate consequence that their freedom to put others at risk is restricted.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks AP for using your voice for this. In my world, my immunocompromised world, this pandemic means not going out for weeks at a time. It means being worried sick if I do have to go out because wearing a mask is the bare minimum to allow me to leave the house. Recently, my son and my husband got seriously sick at work and it wasn’t even Covid. It is now 3 months since contagious flu bugs visited and stayed in my home. The misery is endless and the side-effects frightening. And this is all just a result of a virulent flu. I have no idea why people would gamble with imminent death or long-term disabilities when it comes to Covid vaccines. Thanks for letting me vent😢

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Sue. You’re more than welcome to vent anytime. I’m so sorry to hear about your plight. It’s for you and other frontline workers/healthcare professionals – not to mention my own colleagues in the aviation industry – that I feel so strongly about this. But it’s also about those who have been misled and misinformed in the cruelest possible way. It’s about everybody – but especially the most vulnerable. How well we look after and protect the most at risk determines how strong we really are. I wish you all the strength in the world. Hang in there Sue. And thank you again for sharing. It means a great deal to me. 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  • The Western world is currently obsessed with the fear of dying, which has led to mass hysteria
    It’s happened before with the ‘swine Flu in the USA in 1976.’

    the conditions that create mass hysteria are as follows

    1 Many socially isolated people living in the absence of community and social ties.
    2 A large number of people experiencing a lack of meaning in their lives.
    3 Many waves of free-flowing anxiety washing over society.
    4 Widespread psychological and social dissatisfaction.

    All of the above is made much worse with lockdowns and mass media reporting unsubstantiated stories that don’t pass the sniff test.

    While I’m here, I should ask, why do the vaccinated fear the unvaccinated?
    The vaccinations job is to protect you from covid -isn’t it?, so why do have a problem with the unvaccinated?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that social anxiety and fear is on the rise. Along with nihilism and widespread dissatisfaction. All the more reason to mandate vaccinations in my eyes. It is about saving lives and protection freedoms. It’s about making people feel safe enough to come out again and feel like their lives hold meaning.

      To answer your question, it’s because I fear for the lives of other people – not just my own. I fear for the vulnerable. I fear for my family. I fear for everyone who is dying a needless death.

      And I didn’t get vaccinated to protect myself. I did it to protect my family and my friends. I did to protect my colleagues and my community. I did because getting vaccinated reduces the risk toward other people – not only myself. I did it for you, believe it or not.

      For the exact same reason I support a mandate for everyone. It’s about saving lives and protecting freedoms. Reducing fear and rebuilding social ties. All of the above. I’m for it precisely because it’s not about me. It’s what’s in the best interest of everybody concerned. The vaccinated and unvaccinated. Doesn’t matter. We’re all the same people on the same boat. I’m not looking at them as two different groups. A mandate would apply to everyone. That is equal. That is fair. A mandate that just applies to frontline workers isn’t.

      Hopefully this answers your question/clears up my line of thinking for you.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I really appreciate it. Wishing you well 🙏

      Like

    • Exactly. I feel like this individualistic mentality is costing us all dearly. Consider the collective. It’s better for everyone including the self. Thanks Barb 🙏

      Like

  • I read about a lot of push-back against mandatory vaccination. In Australia only States and Territories have the authority to request such mandates. Anti-Vaxxes believe their civil liberties are being violated. In the early stages of vaccine inoculation there were concerns of side effects/negative body relations such as blood clots. This occurred in a small number of cases but still possible nonetheless. I myself was lucky not to experience negative effects of the jab after 2 shots. There is also fake news being spread on social media as well as those attempting to promote unproven methods to cure the COVID infected people. I refer to methods not authorized by Chief Medical Heads of government. It’s a bit like accepting the medicine of a witch doctor though some believe witch doctors can cure people of illnesses. Better to accept official advice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Side effects are a possibility you’re right but they are extremely rare. The side effects of long Covid are well known and very common. It’s not a perfect choice. There’s no such thing. But the risks of not getting vaccinated far outweigh the risks of getting it. Mandates already exist in most countries. It’s just they’re only applied to frontline workers such as medical care professionals and teachers. My argument is that if a mandate is applied to them it should be applicable to everybody in the name of equality. It’s all or nothing in my eyes given the pandemic effects everybody – especially those who are on the frontline fighting this thing. It’s only fair to them. I agree that official advice needs to be trusted. Thank you for taking the time to weigh in and lend your thoughts. I really appreciate it. Wishing you well 🙏

      Like

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