The following is an opinion, my opinion.
A disclaimer: I am not a medical expert – not certified nor social-media self-proclaimed, just a guy making some observations.
As if we didn’t have enough friction going on in this country around topics such as discrimination, Black Lives, Me Too, abortion, gun control, climate change, and immigration rights; COVID, amongst its many “gifts”, added masks and vaccinations to the national and online debates.
Round and about, it is amusing how people who find themselves on the negative side of a debate, look for a positive word to represent their position. For example, anti-abortion became pro-life. And nowadays, anti-vaccination have turned into “medical freedom”. No one wants to be on the “anti” side anymore. I guess since I am anti-war, henceforth I will be named “pro-peace”. There, that settles that!
Back on topic: I was giving some thought to the debate about whether to get vaccinated or not. For me, getting vaccinated was a no-brainer. For some, the statement I just made that it was a no-brainer will mean that people without brains rush to get vaccinated, while for others it would mean that no brain is required to realize the benefits of the vaccine. I leave that choice up to you.
Back to me. I had experienced COVID firsthand back in March 2020, and after 10 most miserable days – my COVID experience I can only describe as flu on steroids — I rather take my chances with science, even if it is not yet cooked to perfection. And while I met several self-proclaimed “experts” on COVID who explained to me why getting vaccinated is a poor choice, I am yet to meet a person I would consider a real expert to claim the same. Thus my choice to be vaccinated as soon as it was made available to my age group back in March 2021.
That being said, I do respect choices other people make, so long as it has little to no effect on me or on others/the environment around them.
That means that you can smoke your lungs out so long as I don’t need to second-hand feel your smoke, and that there are no other ramifications to me such as your medical bills added to my insurance cost. I respect your choice but with this caveat.
What it comes to COVID, here is what we know that is hard to argue with.
When I write “hard to argue with” it means that if you wish to question data coming from various countries and claim that COVID is a world-wide conspiracy, I would like to refer you to the Flat Earth website where you will be in better company than here… 😊
- We know that vaccinated people are less likely to contract the disease. They can still get infected, but if they do, it’s likely to be less severe.
- We know that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the disease. They can still be asymptomatic and thus carriers, but to a much lesser degree than non-vaccinated people.
- We know the Delta variant is highly contagious.
- We know that you can skip vaccination and still not get sick, or catch the virus and be asymptomatic (lucky busters…)
- We know that a small percentage of the people who get vaccinated suffer from complications.
- We know that countries / states with high percentage of vaccinated population have lower cases of COVID.
- We know that in many places the hospitals (and health support system at large,) are at full capacity because of COVID, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to take care of people with non-COVID challenges.
- As a result, if not yet, I can make an educated guess that our health insurance costs will rise a lot in the coming years.
Taken all of the above into consideration, and remembering that we also wish to honor freedom of choice, the solution I suggest is as follows:
Any person who can be vaccinated but refuses to do so, will sign a legal-tight document where they take full responsibility over any and all medical and/or other bills, in case they contract COVID and have to be hospitalized. If one wants freedom, let that person take the full responsibility that comes with that choice. Why should I pay for someone else’s choice? You want it? Own it!
Round and about, I would do the same with people who refuse to wear a seat-belt in a car, or a helmet on a motorcycle. I agree that they have the right to do as they please, so long as it does not put others in danger. But own it. If you get into an accident and somehow survive, albeit with much medical complications, you pay your bills and don’t expect the insurance to cover it because you decided a seat-belt is not necessary.
I know this is dangerous ground. Some may argue that if we go this path, why should we pay for a heart by-pass surgery for someone who choses to eat poorly and not exercise? I agree. We should not. The whole health insurance system is skewed and should be revised. I, as a member in an insured group, am willing to participate in funding medical care for people who have born genetic issue. I view it as part of my responsibility, being a member of the human-kind. But I do not wish to take responsibility over other people life-style choices.
If What I wrote thus far makes sense, it is not easy to implement. The main reason is privacy. For us, as a society, to offer fair insurance that is based on life-style choices, means that we will need to poke into the closets and kitchens of our society members, and as I am also a privacy advocate, that cannot be. Once we let the Big Brother in, which we already partially did, there is no end to it. Thus I do not have a full solution yet. I suspect that with us surrendering ourselves more and more to the likes of Google, Siri, Alexa, and such – a form of the Big Brother disguised as online programs designed to learn us so we can better be served, knowing all there is to know about our private lives will be less of an issue for future generations growing up with this sort of invasiveness.
But on the short term, I still stand behind this idea – don’t want to get vaccinated? Yes, you are posing a greater risk to people around you as you are more likely to be a carrier, which is not cool, but at least own your decision by owning all your medical bills in case you do get sick.
And… after all that being said, I wish us all a healthier year.