News & Politics

If Getting Vaccinated Isn't a 'Personal Choice,' What Is It?

AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis set off a firestorm last Friday when he dared challenge the orthodoxy that justifies mass vaccination mandates.

At a Friday press conference, DeSantis had the temerity to suggest that the vaccine might not be a healthy choice for all.

“It’s about your health and whether you want that protection or not. It really doesn’t impact me or anyone else,” DeSantis said.

The question shouldn’t be whether our choice to be vaccinated or not “impacts” people other than ourselves. It clearly does, since COVID-19 is an infectious disease and getting vaccinated can help stop the spread of the coronavirus. (It should be noted that the vaccine is not a magic bullet in stopping the pandemic.)

The question is whether or not we not have control over what goes into our own bodies and whether the state can coerce people to take the shot “for the good of society”? Dr. Fauci is sure he knows the answer to that question.

NPR:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is “completely incorrect” to suggest vaccines are a personal choice with no broad implications, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease authority.

“If [DeSantis] feels that vaccines are not important for people, that they’re just important for some people, that’s completely incorrect,” Fauci said after being asked about DeSantis’ views during an interview Tuesday with CNN.

DeSantis never said the vaccines “are not important for people” or that they’re “important for some people.” That’s an outright lie — something Dr. Fauci is noted for. DeSantis never said anything remotely close to being construed as vaccine discouragement. He was saying that getting vaccinated or not getting vaccinated is a personal choice.

Perhaps Fauci and others who are piling on DeSantis for his inelegant but accurate statement might want to tell us: If vaccination isn’t a “personal choice,” whose choice is it? Is it the government’s choice to vaccinate an individual or not?

In response to DeSantis’ comments, Fauci said on Tuesday: “Yeah, that’s not true at all.”

Aside from the personal benefit of being protected against the coronavirus, Fauci said, “When you have a virus that’s circulating in the community and you are not vaccinated, you are part of the problem. Because you’re allowing yourself to be a vehicle for the virus to be spreading to someone else.”

“So it isn’t as if it stops with you,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, adding that if an unvaccinated person becomes infected, they could pass the coronavirus on to older people or those who are otherwise more vulnerable.

Fauci and others are dancing around the real issue; Does the state have the power to coerce people to get vaccinated? And if Fauci and others try and dismiss that argument, then why the hell are they yelling at people about not getting vaccinated? Are they trying to show us how responsible and caring they are?

If you’re not going to advocate for the government to tie people down on a gurney and stick them with needles full of vaccines, then stop your carping, your declarations of supposed moral superiority that show us how much better you are than the rest of us.

If they spent half as much energy promoting the vaccine, building trust and confidence the old-fashioned way — telling the truth and being transparent — as they do in looking for ways to criticize those who are hesitant or unconvinced, we might close out this pandemic the way we should; With the freedom to choose what goes into our bodies.