I have been astonished by the unexpected impact of the recent COVID infection. Among its consequences are thousands of deaths and an alarming number of people whose health may be compromised for years to come.
I have also been astonished by the fact that literally thousands of people in our almost exclusive club of educated and protected citizenry have opted for ignorance of public health standards. Both the virus and the public responses to it will be with us and haunting us for many years. The virus may be unavoidable; the stupidity, however, is avoidable.
One of the inevitable consequences of vaccine rejection, but one which I have yet to see discussed in the press, is the impact such ignorance will inevitably have on our social systems.
I refer specifically to our much cherished, but much maligned and much abused, provincial and national medicare. For the younger audience, B.C. Hospital Insurance and its accompanying blanket of medical care have been with us ever since the early 1950’s.
They have served millions of B.C. citizens, from birth to death, and been revered, admired, imitated…and abused. The most recent abuse comes from those most ignorant of its benefits.
The so-called “right” to refuse immunization is based on no known medical or scientific or societal model, only on uninformed ignorance. The slogan “my body, my right” ignores the fact that we do not individually belong only to our selves; we belong to our families, our friends, our societies.
Nearly all of us were born in publicly funded hospitals, delivered by publicly paid doctors, educated in publicly owned or subsidized schools, travel on publicly built and maintained roads, and work in publicly authorized or dedicated or licensed institutions.
We all generally obey, respect, and need social constraints on our otherwise heedless acts. Mankind is a social animal…..an animal, but social.
Let me clarify my argument by using the analogy of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. Although much admired in the free world, it is hated by a minority of unthinking cranks.
If one drives without the necessary personal and public liability insurance, one endangers both himself and every other person on the road. One who does so has also willingly forfeited the personal and family duty to protect himself, and has demanded personal risk and responsibility, at somebody else’s expense.
The same is true of vaccination. If you refuse the protection of group-oriented duty, you are ineligible for group-oriented remedy. Membership has duties and responsibilities, as well as benefits. Stop signs and speed limits are for us. Public services and utilities are not for profit, or for option.
Perhaps the antivaxxers would prefer a system in which, upon injury, illness, incapacitation, or infection, each person was classified according to whether or not he enrolled in a voluntary protection scheme, or gambled, and then needed treatment.
Can you imagine the American model of health care: cash up front, life-long debt, or medicare? Free choice? One must show paid-up membership before being accepted for medical treatment? Not in my Canada. I want full benefits; I pay the dues.
I can imagine the response when an antivaxxer admits that his refusal of immunization was a conscious choice and, thus, not a social responsibility, and he was thus happy to foot the enormous costs. To refuse protection for a child is immoral; the child is not a possession. To deny an innocent child access to every rational means of medical care is criminal neglect.
Vaccination, as part of public and personal welfare, is part of civilized, educated society. Those who oppose it should be able to do so…at their own expense…but not at the expense of the life of an innocent child, or at the kindness and indulgence of a public that pays for someone else’s unnecessary rejection of standard public benefits and duties.
You are either in or out. But out is not an option for anyone calling himself human. And no one has the right to gamble with a child’s life. The fool on the hill is a myth….and a dangerous one. Get yourself and your kids vaccinated. It is free, and it saves lives. It is opposed only by the ignorant and the uninformed. No way to run a health system.