Vaccine debate has intensified in recent weeks as several private companies hit self-imposed deadlines for employee vaccinations, federal court blocked President Biden’s vaccination mandate and an iconic NFL superstar used a selection of creative words to describe his vaccination status.
So what do all these discussions mean for our country? To be honest, not much. Ultimately, there isn’t much unified progress in the fight against COVID-19. However, there has been a silver lining recently.
On October 29, the United States Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include children aged 5 to 11. Now, previously defenseless children have the opportunity to be vaccinated. Parents will make the final decision, but at least the opportunity to fight the virus is available to millions of vulnerable children.
I look at it this way, at this point two things are probably going to happen: people are going to catch the virus or get vaccinated. But there shouldn’t be excessive penalties for non-compliance. No one should have the right to infect others, but none of us should ever lose the ability to make a decision for ourselves because the powers that be have chosen to make the decision for us.
I can only imagine what the landscape looked like in 1918-1919 as the Spanish Flu swept through our country. While the doctors and researchers thought they had the answers, there weren’t any effective trials or solutions, so it was a cinch at best. Fortunately, this is a different scenario in the 21st century and technology has provided some effective options for you to consider.
History has taught us that it is wise to protect yourself during any battle, but with COVID-19, not everyone is convinced of what it will take to survive in the end, they don’t. So it’s no surprise that many people have challenged when decisions seem coerced or made without consent. The struggle for independence is alive and well in the vaccination conversation.
Mandates are defined as a “formal order to do something” so it will be very interesting to see how far people go to make mandates a reality and whether the gains outweigh the losses in the end. It is an open discussion with many challenges ahead, which creates many lines drawn in the sand on both sides, but well worth the time for our country to succeed.
David L. Holden is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and vice president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association (okmed.org).