Letter: Salmon Arm doctor denounces actions of protesters at schools and hospitals, urges vaccination

Right to freedom ends when it infringes on another’s right to feel safe, says writer

To those continuing to protest outside hospitals and schools:

I see you are demonstrating against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and pandemic restrictions, believing that they are somehow an infringement on your freedom, your right to personal autonomy and bodily integrity.

While I respect your right to protest, I believe you are being very inconsiderate in choosing to protest outside health-care facilities and schools.

People with appointments at the hospital feel intimidated by your presence and patients with emergencies have difficulty accessing the health care they need.

Now you are showing up at schools making students, their parents and teachers feel uneasy. Health-care providers, already emotionally exhausted from this pandemic, feel offended and discouraged by your behavior. Furthermore, your actions are an insult to the increased number of patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 disease, the bulk of whom are unvaccinated.

Firstly, you do not represent a “silent majority” as claimed on social media. Many random polls have found that 80 per cent of the Canadian population is in favour of COVID-19 vaccination and in favour of a COVID-19 vaccine passport.

Secondly, your right to freedom is not absolute. It ends where your right infringes on another’s right to feel safe and protected from COVID-19 by herd immunity, achieved only when 90 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated.

Thirdly, your actions against vaccination are compared to what a reasonable person would do. It is clear by the numbers that reasonable Canadians are getting vaccinated. You are being unreasonable.

Fourthly, vaccine passports are being imposed because you are not willing to get vaccinated. If, over the past two months, a further 10 per cent of Canadians were willing to get vaccinated, we may have achieved herd immunity and avoided this 4th wave of COVID-19 cases, and vaccine passports would not have been needed.

Unfortunately, that herd immunity has been delayed by your selfishness.

You are not being forced to get vaccinated. As an unvaccinated individual, you will just not be able to participate in some discretionary activities without proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

Fifthly, there is no conspiracy to harm you with this vaccine. In fact, vaccine technology is far more advanced and safe now than it was when Small Pox and Polio were eliminated by mass vaccination campaigns.

The COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be effective, both in decreasing transmission and in preventing severe disease.

Your immune system is a remarkable part of your body. Every day you are exposed to thousands of toxic foreign substances in the air you breathe, the food you eat and the water you drink, and your immune system responds to protect you. You are just adding one more foreign substance to the mix with the COVID-19 vaccine. Your immune system can handle it.

Finally, it is no longer all about you; it is about what is best for the community and the society in which you live. This “me first” attitude will cause the extinction of the human species and it has to stop! The balance of risk, side effects of vaccination, versus severe COVID disease, favours vaccination. COVID-19 illness, at its worst, is a horrible and fatal disease.

With rights come responsibilities. You need to do your part to help protect your fellow Canadians. Please, please, please choose to get vaccinated.

A COVID weary and discouraged health-care provider,

Ruth Brighouse, MD

Read more: Protesters at Salmon Arm schools prompt political, public condemnation

Read more: ‘Stay away from children!’: Premier denounces protesters who entered Salmon Arm schools

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