Letter to the Editor

Vaccine and freedom

I find it ironic that many anti-vaccine people justify their choice as a matter of exercising and promoting "freedom." I say this is ironic because remaining unvaccinated is contributing to an erosion of freedom for virtually everyone in our society. The virus continues to negatively impact the economy, including the loss of many small businesses. It limits the everyday social interactions of many. It will undoubtedly affect the cost and accessibility of health care. It is impacting on education at all levels. And, certainly, it is contributing to the debt burden we are handing to future generations.

In all of these areas, and others, the ongoing presence of the virus is reducing choices for virtually everyone in the United States. Here I am assuming that everyone agrees that real freedom (as opposed to some vague idealistic notion) is based in having real-world choices. The unvaccinated are then contributing to a massive erosion of choices and in this, they are a threat to everyone's freedom.

The founders of our country never intended "freedom" to mean ignoring all sense of responsibility to one's community. I think this is a point of confusion on the part of many. You have personal rights and freedoms. However, with those rights come responsibilities to your community, including a responsibility to help preserve and enhance the freedoms of others. Freedom is not a simple matter. And so this is why I find it ironic when people justify their choice to remain unvaccinated in terms of "freedom".

ROBERT POLACK, Cape Girardeau