Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

I may live to regret this, but I'm going to talk about the COVID-19 vaccination program again this week.

Last week, I took the stand that I thought a vaccine passport or certificate made sense as we climb out of the shutdown caused by the pandemic. For some — see our Mailbox this week — that meant I was advocating mandatory vaccinations.

I'll be honest. I think everyone should be vaccinated against COVID-19 (more on that in a minute). But I'm not advocating people should be forced to get a vaccination; worry not, I'm still an advocate of freedom of choice as well as freedom of speech.

I think I can see the mindset behind hearing vaccine passport and thinking mandatory vaccinations. If you don't have a passport you don't get to travel, coercing people into getting the shot.

What I neglected to add was a recent negative coronavirus test should qualify, too. That's what some entities are doing right now.

Why do you think there's a mobile test site in the Long Beach Airport? Because Hawaii will waive its 14-day quarantine requirement to those with a recent negative test — or proof of vaccination.

I also apparently gave the impression last week that I was denigrating the Israeli response to COVID-19 with its Green Pass program to allow people to attend large events. The opposite is true — I admire the ability to take quick action, which is exactly what Israeli officials did.

My failings as a writer aside, I continue to argue that getting a vaccination is the right thing to do.

I believe the wealth of scientific evidence that says these vaccines are effective in blocking the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. While more science needs to be done on this one, it also makes sense to me that you can't spread the disease if you don't have it.

I've heard tons of arguments along the lines of "it's my body and I'll do what I want with it." Okay, I'll accept that.

What I can't accept is the fact non-vaccinators are putting those around them in danger. That includes strangers you breathe on (not wearing masks seems to go along with not getting vaccinations). It includes family you dote on.

I suppose anti-vaccine folks can just hope everyone around them gets vaccinated — or gets lucky enough to not get infected. In other words, count on everyone else to keep you healthy.

So, no vaccine person, did you tell your parents, your kids' grandparents, to get the shot? Or did you let them know you didn't think it was necessary?

I recall a rather simplistic argument I've heard made about freedom of choice and action. Your freedom ends when your fist reaches my face.

I pray, literally, that those who decide not to get vaccinated don't suffer the consequences, or cause others to suffer. We'll get through this, as we've gotten through so many other things in the past.

I'm just trying to limit the pain — for you and for me.

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Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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