Lilly Roe writes that personal freedom of choice should be the overriding consideration in forming public health policy.

There is a flaw in this thinking with regard to a highly transmissible disease like COVID-19. Your refusal to get vaccinated will eventually result in your own illness as well as illnesses of others close to you. And those illnesses could then contribute to consuming local hospital resources and potentially deny those resources to others in need. If this all sounds theoretical, think again.

The states of Alaska and Idaho, overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, have recently been forced to implement crisis standards of care, an emergency system that rations health care based on who is most likely to survive. This means that if you show up at the ER in critical condition due to a car accident, it is possible that you will not get the life-saving care you need because unvaccinated people with a better chance of survival are already occupying all of the ICU beds.

The COVID-19 death count in the U.S. currently stands at 680,000. The CDC reported on Sept. 13, 2021, that the total number of COVID-19 deaths among vaccinated Americans is a miniscule 3,040. It is obvious that the vaccines have been incredibly effective in reducing serious illness and death, while problems with the vaccines have been extremely rare.

Public policy must always balance personal freedom against the public good, which is why we don't allow people the freedom to decide on which side of the road to drive.

Jon White

La Grande

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