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September 24, 2021

8/25/2021 2:27:00 PM
COVID Vaccine is not a Political Issue

Dear Editor;
I would like to build upon Dr. Biere's informative, well-reasoned letter addressing the controversies surrounding the current COVID vaccine.
The fundamental question surrounding vaccine acceptance is whether individual freedom supersedes the needs of the common good. The anti-vaccinators claim that it does, and the pro-vaccinators disagree. In a civil society, these opposing viewpoints are not generally as difficult to reconcile as they have become, especially over as serious an issue as preventing a life-threating disease. Vaccines are not political, but the COVID struggle has somehow become a very political, united we stand-divided we fall fight, which begs some compelling questions:
First, would the same pro-vaccine/anti-vaccine occur if the illness involved a different virus? COVID is a potentially fatal illness. It is possible to fully recover from, but what if it was a highly contagious virus that wasn't fatal, but caused permanent paralysis? Suddenly having 36 million paralyzed individuals (2300 in Iowa County) would be catastrophic. Would there be widespread misinformation and vocal opposition to a vaccine that would prevent a paralytic illness? Probably not.
Second is the mistrust of government. I agree that, in the wake of a four period of national leadership spearheaded by a narcissistic liar, trusting the government is nearly impossible. However, trusting the vaccine science is an entirely different matter. Good science doesn't lie, and the vaccine science, obtained by carefully applied scientific methodology, indicates the vaccine is safe and it works to prevent illness.
Covid scientists are not political pundits; they are supremely intelligent, well trained individuals who have nothing to gain, and a lot to lose by lying about their results. There is no reason for them to do that. Taking the government out of the vaccine trust-mistrust equation and going with the science would go a long way towards settling the vaccine efficacy question.
With 42% of eligible Iowa County residents still unvaccinated, we are a long way from herd immunity, which would cause the virus to die out. This speaks to the common good /vulnerable population issue. The best way to keep children, who are vulnerable because of not being eligible for COVID vaccination, safe is to surround them with fully vaccinated people. In order to keep their children and grandchildren protected from COVID, parents and grandparents must consider the well-being of the children in their families above their own individual freedom, and get vaccinated. The same argument applies to the general population.
In today's world putting the needs and safety of others ahead of oneself is divisive and fallaciously perceived as weakness. In reality, united respect for the common good reflects strength of moral character, which is a truly admirable, vitally necessary, human trait. It makes no sense to become our own worst enemies in a fight against a life-threatening virus.
Paula vW. Dáil, PhD
Emerita Research Professor of
Social Welfare and Public Policy
Spring Green, WI

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