By Marco Propato
This letter is in response to the letter by Geri Procaccini published in the November 12, 2021, issue of The Valley Reporter against vaccine mandates.
While I totally agree that being healthy and fit is a great thing and could help in reducing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID infections, let’s try to objectively look at the available data.
These are the current numbers in Vermont: While the unvaccinated population is about 20% (of which at least half of this portion is made up of kids younger than 11 that did not have a choice until recently and fortunately do not need hospitalization for the most part), around 80% of current hospitalizations are from this section of the population and not vice versa as it should have been if vaccine was ineffective. Call this bringing strain to the health care system. And approximately half of the viral charge going around (the daily infections) is with the unvaccinated population (although they are four times less than the vaccinated people).
These data suggest that it is thanks to 80% of the population that is vaccinated or has started the vaccination process, that COVID infections, hospitalization and deaths are not exploding and not heading to more grim numbers. So that if anyone gets really sick he/she can still find a bed available at the hospitals! The data indicates also that we have all the tools to end this pandemic and move on but we still need to deal with too many unvaccinated people.
So, yes, it is a good idea to incentivize good habits. But if one prefers not to exercise or eat properly, he or she mainly hurts himself or herself. By not vaccinating and letting the virus run around, one may also hurt others (and ending up costing more to society since it is more likely that he or she would need public care resources that otherwise would have been used for someone else in need). Are we forbidding one to smoke? No, we don’t, but society has mandated no smoking in restaurants and public places. So why should we not do the same with a person that has freely decided to not vaccinate?
I encourage anyone to consider vaccination not only to get some level of personal protection (although it may not be 100%) but also as a civic action to reduce the virus going around and reduce the chance of infecting other people (without mentioning reducing the chance of a more dangerous mutation).
Marco Propato lives in Warren.