Governor McMaster wants to frame the Covid Vaccination efforts as a threat to commerce and personal choice. In a recent tweet reacting to new federal Covid Vaccine regulations, he responded with this:
This incredibly short sighted response fails to grasp the bigger picture:
- Businesses have been greatly impacted from the pandemic, ending it quicker will only help South Carolina commerce
- Personal liberties end when our actions adversely impact others
I will start with business as this seem to be the Governor’s greatest concern. South Carolina has lost 10% of small businesses due to the pandemic according to the SC Chamber of Commerce. This spring, Swati Patel, interim CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, addressed the need for Covid Vaccinations as a way out of the hardships brought about from the pandemic: “The vaccine distribution, especially now that the (Phase) 1b category is opening up next week, I think creates a lot of hope for businesses,” Patel explained. “We’ve had feedback from companies and businesses that have already implemented a vaccination plan for their employees, and they’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as those supplies come in.”
Unfortunately, South Carolina remains near the bottom in Covid Vaccination rates and new infections are rampant. It is a shame that the optimistic outlook shared just a few months ago is now jeopardized because so many of South Carolina residents refuse to use the proven and safe solutions to ending the pandemic.
My Body, My Choice
This is the rallying cry of the unvaccinated and McMaster took up the call yet again Thursday. It is unclear if the Governor misunderstands where personal freedoms end but it is clear that he sees this a a politically advantageous position to take in our state.
Personal liberties are foundational to our nation. I get that. But individual freedoms end when our actions impact the welfare of others. We have countless laws in America that dictate proper behavior. Seat Belt laws, smoking ordinances, school vaccination requirements to name but just a few. All of these laws are in place to protect the common good. Just as second-hand smoke is no longer tolerated in our restaurants as it represents a health risk to other diners – Exposure to secondhand smoke causes an estimated 41,000 deaths each year among adults in the United States – , unvaccinated individuals should not be allowed to endanger the majority who are vaccinated by prolonging the pandemic and inviting new possibly worse Covid variants to for that will only prolong our collective suffering.
In a recent interview for bloomberg.com, Christopher Martin, a professor of public health at West Virginia University, explains it, these undervaccinated pockets create more opportunity for the virus to mutate.
“Large numbers of unvaccinated people do make variants more likely,” he says. “Each of us remains at risk so long as there are large numbers of unvaccinated people anywhere in the world,”
Covid Vaccination Will End This Pandemic
For six months Covid Vaccination has been optional but now in many places it will be required. It is clear from the numbers that without such a requirement, South Carolina would never achieve a vaccination rate high enough to end the pandemic.
Why Covid has become so political is still baffling. The United States has wiped out numerous diseases like measles, polio and smallpox via the aggressive use of vaccines. It is time to embrace the science and end this pandemic.
Fifty more people were reported to have died, many needlessly, from Covid Thursday. How many more need to die before we act?