Gov't needs to grow the will to mandate COVID-19 vaxWednesday, October 20, 2021
Personal liberty is not absolute and should be suspended by a Government in the interest of the common good. So, for now, let's eliminate all concerns for personal liberty in our discussion on mandatory vaccination.
Instead, let's focus on what the vaccine actually is, can do, and the side effects.
I must also put out the disclaimer that I am by no means a medical science expert. However, it is plain and simple common sense that, if the side effects of the vaccines are minuscule in comparison to the positive value, it is therefore prudent to take the jab.
Importantly also, if competent experts can establish that the vaccine is the most potent means of combating this nagging virus, saves lives, eases the burden off our fragile health sector, and restores normalcy, the Jamaican Government has a moral duty to impose mandatory COVID-19 vaccination.
Emanuel Kant's great proclamation — which continues to reverberate through the ages and which we hope to impinged upon the walls of every civilisation — must be deemed sacred, “In so far as a man's actions doesn't impinge upon the rights and freedoms of others he must be free.” But having the novel coronavirus poses a directly lethal treat to others.
COVID-19 is not like HIV, one doesn't need to sexually expose oneself in order to receive and spread it. Experts' opinion is that you can contract the novel coronavirus in the taxi, at work, at the grocery store, or at the police station. Responding to something so deadly and so contagious cannot simply be left at the feet of personal responsibility.
The Adam Smithsonian moral philosophy suggests a Government shouldn't have the authority to compel a man to act in beneficence. Government, however, exists to ensure humans act justly – a man is acting justly if you have done nothing to increase or decrease the misery of another person. In other words, no Government should be able to force anyone to share his/her wealth with those who are hungry. Does having the novel coronavirus increase or decrease the safety of others? I think so.
Government can, through penalty, reduce opportunities to spread the virus. We are seeing, in our case, that this is not enough.
Many argue, soundly too, that the vaccines do not stop a person from contracting or spreading the virus. Data are also available to support this. In light of this reality, on what basis can the Government impose mandatory vaccination? If it is that vaccinated people have a far less chance of contracting the virus, spreading the virus, or getting seriously sick, this should be adequate justification to impose mandatory vaccination. A driver not wearing a seat belt endangers himself more than the public, yet he is penalised if he doesn't wear one.
Government has a duty to ease the burden off the public health system.
This Jamaican Government must continue to be resolute in its fight against COVID-19. It must continue to mandate the wearing of masks in public, and it must seek the best expert advice on the efficacy and side effects of the vaccines.
If our medical experts can confirm that the vaccine is our best bet, the Government should find the political will to impose mandatory vaccination, just like we have been doing for decades. Mandatory vaccination has always been a policy of Jamaica.