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COVID: Choices Have ConsequencesDr. Tom Locke special to Salem-News.com
Healthcare workers are not being forced to take a vaccine.
(JEFFERSON CO., Wash.) - I agree no one should be required to take a vaccine (or any medical intervention) against their will. This is a matter of individual, informed choice. But choices have consequences.
In the realm of infectious diseases, the choices we make do not just have personal consequences, they impact others.
In the context of an out-of-control global pandemic, getting vaccinated becomes a minimum requirement for being a healthcare worker. Healthcare workers have an affirmative duty to protect their patients from preventable harm.
You don't have a 'personal choice' whether to wash your hands, don personal protective equipment, follow infection control protocols, etc. If you don't want to do those things, you are not qualified to hold a medical or nursing license.
Healthcare workers are not being forced to take a vaccine. Those who decide not to are no longer qualified to work in their chosen field.
This is not a matter of human rights or discrimination. See the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stance on this: "Why the ACLU Supports Vaccine Mandates" (www.theatlantic.com).
Requiring businesses to enforce masking mandates and for bars and restaurants to enforce vaccinated-only indoor dining policies is basic public health. We are in the midst of the worst-ever COVID outbreak in our communities. Emergency measures are necessary.
Remember: Choice has consequence. If your personal choice harms someone else, you are responsible for that harm.
Author: Dr. Tom Locke, MD, MPH Deputy Public Health Officer for Jefferson County Public Health
INFORMATIONAL LINKS (COVID-19):
Source: Jefferson County Public Health
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