Opinion: The battle over required COVID-19 Vaccinations is catching headlines across the nation. The country has a president who has now dictated a requirement for a significant number of Americans to be forced to take the COVID vaccine Vaccine without congressional laws or approval. There are past legal judgments that seem to support the government’s stand. However, just because a ruling in the past kept something legal does not mean that the same ruling will apply today. I believe the vaccine is good, has been scientifically proven to work, and is an essential step in fighting COVID. That is my view though, as I also believe in the individual right of choice. In other words, because I believe in the science behind the vaccine does not mean you have to believe in it.
Freedom of choice is one of the foundations of the United States. We are free to decide our paths daily. When it comes to vaccines, not even the federal government has a standard requirement for institutions such as schools. Each state decides the annual school vaccines taken by students. States self-govern, determine what vaccines will be required for public school attendance, and allow for exemptions. Exemptions can range from medical exemptions, religious exemptions, and even down to that freedom of choice. In simple terms, you have rights. The only area where you do not have rights when it comes to standard vaccines is the military. Anyone who has ever joined a military branch can tell you that you’re going to get vaccinated…whether you want to or not, but that military obligation also removes many of your freedoms and choices. That’s just part of the military.
So in the “Land of the Free,” we now have a situation where the government tells us we have to be vaccinated or tested if we fit specific criteria. If you work for a company with more than one hundred employees – you know, Walmart, Dillards, McDonald’s, Burger King, Ford, GMC, Sony, Best Buy, grocery chains, etc., you have to have the COVID vaccine or weekly testing. At this point, it’s not clear what the government may require next if you test positive, but it’s also not clear how a company will monitor for breakthrough infections in those vaccinated. The only certainty is that you can submit to the testing, or you can get the vaccine – there’s your choice in the “Land of the Free.” Further, those companies funded with federal monies – which is ultimately your money – are required to vaccinate or test weekly. This requirement means all the small facilities providing long-term care, small medical facilities, even your local doctor’s office will have to vaccinate or submit to testing.
Naturally, many companies wasted no time implementing these changes – you can’t blame them since the government has indicated enormous penalties for non-compliance. Sure, they are going to act now and get ready. However, since there is no indication of who will pay for the mandatory weekly testing, most businesses appear to have simply decided to let people refusing the vaccine be terminated. This termination policy is being seen first in hospitals and medical settings.
We now have a situation where the medical staff in many hospitals are being terminated. Some of these nurses, doctors, and others have been working in the medical field for years. They were the front-line workers in the pandemic when it started…with no vaccine. They came to work, wore PPE, took a deep breath, and jumped in to fight COVID daily. They have been hailed as heroes. While other businesses and schools shut down, people stayed home, travel was restricted, these medical men and women went to the front lines, and they fought. They cried, they lost patients, they saved patients, and ultimately some of them even gave their lives in the fight. The medical community in this country stepped up in our hour of need. They continue to step up. Now, they are being told to take the vaccine or hit the road. Some of them have taken the vaccine – it was their choice, but others have decided they do not want it. The same people who walked headfirst into COVID-19 when others stayed home are now being fired for not wanting a vaccine because they exercise their own choice – their freedom.
Whether you are pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine does not matter – we can all have our own opinions. You can feel like your opinion is correct, and that is okay. But regardless of your opinion, when the people who fought on the front lines in the war against COVID with no vaccine do not want the vaccine, and then they are being fired, there is something wrong in the “Land of the Free.” Choice and Freedom are the foundation of our country. If we throw that away for a vaccine, then where will our government stop?