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Ross: Accepting the risks of refusing a vaccine

People display signs protesting mask and vaccine mandates during the Kentucky Freedom Rally at the capitol building on Aug. 28, 2021, in Frankfort, Kentucky. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

It was maybe a half hour after President Biden’s vaccination speech that a listener sent me a note calling for nationwide acts of civil disobedience to protest the president’s decision to require millions of vaccine holdouts to get their shots.

His point was that it should be a choice. Of course, it still IS a choice. No one’s going to forcibly hold you down and shove a needle into your arm, but when the consequence is losing your job, that comes pretty close.

So, I think it’s time get beyond the vaccination issue and directly address the real problem, which is hospital capacity. Personally, I think it would be wrong for hospitals to refuse to treat the unvaccinated, as some people have suggested.

But I see nothing wrong with another option, which would be for the unvaccinated to take their freedom of choice one step further and choose to refuse treatment if they get COVID.

I’m actually surprised that so many people who distrust the doctors who endorsed the vaccine would suddenly trust some of those very same doctors when they’re being intubated. Makes no sense.

But the main problem, as other listeners have pointed out to me, is that their decision to exercise freedom of choice during a pandemic is clogging the ICUs. It means people who made the right choice on the vaccine – and still got sick, or were too young to get vaccinated – could be left to die.

So, I mentioned this idea to the listener who emailed me: If you’re going to assert your right to choose NOT to be vaccinated, why not be consistent and choose not to be treated if you get sick?

The response surprised me. He wrote: “Two years ago I had [the letters] DNR tattooed on my left chest. I work in a high-risk environment. … I am an adult; I know the risk.”

DNR of course means “Do Not Resuscitate.”

Well, I can’t argue with that. Because if more of the unvaccinated took that same level of personal responsibility, the ICUs would probably have room, and the risks would be highest for those who voluntarily chose to accept them.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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