Jaroslav Miko: Vaccination doesn't just protect you, it protects us all
I have always been in favor of the vaccination against COVID-19 being absolutely voluntary, and I stand by that opinion, but I reject labeling those who have gotten vaccinated or are planning to as "weaklings" who submit to others in a subordinate position and have no respect for their own freedom. Our world has faced and in some places is still facing a pandemic of the kind that hasn't been here in a century.
Millions have lost their lives, others now have health problems, and the global economy has significantly weakened. To say nothing of what has happened to our children's educational process.
In such a situation, getting vaccinated, as long there are no objective health barriers preventing one from doing so, is not an act of "weakness". Vaccination is not just about protecting your own personal health, it is about contributing to protecting the health of all of us, as a whole, and that is why it is incomprehensible to me that, for example, Dr Lukáš Pollert has now publicly compared the vaccinations underway to the days of totalitarianism, and said he perceives rejecting vaccination to be an act of civic courage.
Certainly, being vaccinated does entitle one to certain advantages, whether this concerns the opportunity to travel or to participate in various cultural events, etc., and we can object to that. The unvaccinated allegedly are becoming second-class citizens.
People who at least get tested for the presence of the virus, however, have the same opportunities as anybody else, depending on the outcome of the test. There is one aspect of this that is the most important of all, though.
It's necessary to fully realize what the public interest is, to take into account public health, to take into account the health of endangered groups who, in short, cannot be fully isolated from the rest of society. The freedom of one individual ends where that of another person begins, but if Mr Pollert and those like him perceive their rejection of vaccination to be some kind of fight for freedom, if they are so bold as to compare themselves to the dissidents from the totalitarian era, then from my perspective they are just demonstrating their own ordinary egoism.
It should be up to each of us to decide whether to get vaccinated or not, but those who refused to be tested, or vaccinated, or to be involved in any other way of protecting others, should at least not fatuously present that decision as an act of bravery. Such egoists are very far away from being actual heroes.
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