Freedom to be safe

In December 2020 Lucky Brandt wrote a letter sharing his (inaccurate) understanding of masks and denouncing mask requirements. He wrote “This is America. Let us continue to have the freedom to use our own judgment and logic and make our own decisions.”

Maybe if he had listened to the experts regarding the use of masks rather than “use his own judgment,” his wife and son would not have ended up in critical condition in the hospital with COVID-19 (see Lucky’s sad letter from August 2021). I’m sure that was costly. All of us pay when people flaunt mask recommendations and refuse safe vaccinations. Decisions that are not based on science put everyone at risk and strain our healthcare system.

Now Lucky is ranting against vaccine “passes” (letter, Dec. 16). He equates a requirement to show a vaccination card with apartheid in South Africa. Comparing a policy designed to keep people healthy with a racist regime is insane and insensitive. Stop blaming the “government”; vaccines and mandates (the choice between a test or vaccination) come at the behest of the health care professionals, the people who brought us organ transplants, ventilators, cancer therapies and other life-saving practices.

Showing my vaccination card when entering an establishment is a social act showing that I care about my community. Given that the vaccine induces some neutralizing antibodies, a vaccinated person is statistically much less likely to carry a virus that might harm employees and other patrons. In addition, studies have shown that people who voluntarily get vaccinated are more likely to follow safe practices, such as wearing masks in social situations (Kaiser Family Foundation, August 2021).

Employees should have the freedom to have a safe workplace. Lucky has the freedom to stay home if he chooses not to show his vaccination card.

Trish Hartzell

Moscow

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