To the Editor:
Over the past year and a half we have all had our lives changed dramatically as the world has been faced with COVID 19. Few of us were alive in 1918 when the previous pandemic ravaged the whole world. Therefore, we had to make major decisions and take drastic measures to literally keep the world alive during this pandemic. Because of all of the vaccine development efforts over the past many years, though, the companies asked to create vaccines for this particular virus have understood what prior work would apply, and what would need to be done to make the vaccines optimally effective for this virus. Accordingly, in a very short period of time, we had vaccines available which the pharmaceutical companies were confident could prevent the virus or could largely prevent death. So why, then, are we still dealing with this? The answer is not scientific, it is societal. In a word, it is the failure to address all the levels of responsibility which we as advanced beings always have.
Responsibility is not only to ourselves and our various senses of entitlement or beliefs. It needs to be to all of the following three levels: Personal responsibility, friends and family responsibility, and responsibility for our species. None of these is new, but our ability to recognize the right answer to a problem of this magnitude needs to address all three.
That is, I believe, why we still have this virus, and the even more virulent mutants, causing severe illness and death rather than eradicating it through herd immunity.
Ultimately, the key responsibility we all have is to our species. Can we justify causing the death of someone else, even someone we don’t even know, because we believe we ourselves to be safe? Or, because we believe we have certain rights?
The decision to get vaccinated, to wear a mask, to keep safe distance from others is about far more than whether we think we can survive ourselves. It is about responsibility to the rest of the world in addition to friends and family.
I cannot imagine how any of us would deal with knowing that we may have caused illness and death of anyone which could have so easily, effectively, and safely been prevented.
Even if you and your friends and family feel safe, do you have the right to fail to do your part in preventing disease and death among other humans?
I hope that those who have opted to not get vaccinated will step back and assess all three of the levels of responsibilities as adults in a civilized world and will get vaccinations. What do you have to lose, (other than life)…
Judith L. Seidmeyer