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Indybay Feature

Pro Choice

by Melissa Jimenez
Op ed about vaccine madate.
By Melissa Jimenez

The coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching extensive repercussions on many households, some changing people's lives for the better but many tragically, for the worse. People have lost their careers, businesses, and, unfortunately, loved ones. People have changed careers, moved closer to their parents, or taken a distant job and in a whole new part of the country. While there is a consensus the negative impacts have outweighed any potential positive impacts, we are still in a state of inaction.

The vaccine is our frontline defense against this mutating virus that has disrupted our social interactions, our economies, and essentially every inch of our lives. So why are people still choosing to opt out? The underlying motives have been politics, fear, and freedom of choice. The pandemic, which could have brought the country closer together, has instead exacerbated our political divisions. As shown in the article, The Real Cost of Political Polarization: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic, (Makridis, Christos and Rothwell, Jonathan T., (June 29, 2020) partisan affiliation is often the most powerful single predictor of behavior and attitudes about COVID-19, even more, powerful than local infection rates or demographic characteristics like age and health status.

As a result, a state's partisanship influences its public health measures, such as the time and length of stay-at-home orders, social gathering prohibitions, and mask laws. While there is some hesitation stemming from all political parties, Republican governors, senators, and the attorney general are forming a wall of opposition to the current presidential mandate to require immunizations or COVID-19 testing for all private firms with 100 or more employees. Republican officials from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and South Dakota stated they would sue the mandate.

Additionally, to political influence, there are still many concerns people have about the vaccine ingredients and safety. While the majority of queries about the vaccine's contents have been answered, hundreds of teachers, police officers and nurses continue to oppose the vaccine mandate, claiming that it is their body and their decision. While I do not disagree with this opinion, I am disappointed that it is based on incorrect opinions and is being echoed by individuals who work to teach, protect, and care for others.

The words Freedom of choice, many have fought for that are now being manipulated.
So, is the issue with the vaccine or mandate? The reality is both. We do live in a country where freedom is fought for, and not a natural-born right. The problem is how do we move forward with our lives with being the best-amoured citizen for our society and economy?
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