Yes, truckers, you should get a vaccine

by Jay Ambrose

We’ve got protesting truckers in Ottawa, Canada, saying they’d rather wave signs, hang out in a parking lot with their loaded vehicles or block bridges and traffic than have the government do you know what: make them get COVID vaccines to just maybe save them and others they could infect from sickness, hospitalizations and possibly death.

To hear a number of anti-mandate-obsessed Fox News hosts and others gab about it, you would think the truckers are equivalent to the brave American farmers standing at the top of Bunker Hill in 1775 as Englanders in red coats marched their direction with ready-to-go muskets.

Yes, look at them on TV and you see convivial, humble souls no doubt sick and tired of being pushed around by their supposed betters, not least of all the angry, self-appreciative Prime Minister Justin Trudeau threatening inane emergency retributions.

But while they may be aiming at the good as they see it and normally serve their communities through their hard work, we have also seen them blockading a bridge between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit. This did serious harm to businesses and all kinds of everyday folks and was far worse than paying nothing for a thin, painless pin poked in your arm for three seconds.

And that’s just the beginning of the harm when you think of how those avoiding the pin are many times more likely to become infected than the vaccinated and to spread their infection to others, sometimes killing them. Something like 90% of all the truckers in Canada have had vaccines and not a few have been critical of their protesting brethren.

The unvaccinated can also kill the vaccinated who are not themselves perfectly safe, just many times safer than the unvaccinated. The unvaccinated in Dallas, for instance, are 85% of those who die from COVID. That still leaves 15% of those who die who have been vaccinated. It does not follow you should prefer to be more at risk. Vaccines can have side-effects that are rare and mostly minimal. Visiting a doctor to check on varied possibilities is not a bad idea for those who fear vaccinations.

No analogy is perfect, but it seems to me the issue of “freedom” begins to disappear when you consider telling people they will lose their right to drive cars if they drive on the left side of the road and refuse to quit. Yes, people also have accidents and maybe get killed and kill others if they drive on the right side of the road, but that doesn’t mean driving on the left side is a better idea.

Yes, it’s true that government has overreached. As the Supreme Court has ruled, President Joe Biden had no right going through a federal agency to tell certain large businesses that all workers should have COVID vaccinations before they get a job. The businesses themselves have that right and so does Congress and state and local officials, some of whom have, however, gone overboard with their demands.

Not a few experts will tell you there has never been serious evidence that COVID was anywhere nearly as dangerous to young school children as denying them in-person education and the ill-effects of wearing masks for hours every day.

Right now, most of us want to get back to normal, and the big variant of the moment, omicron, is relatively mild and said to be dying out, but get this: Although it is mild, it is infecting far more people than other variants and deaths have been going up with thousands still dying in the country every day.

Vaccines are still a good idea, especially all the way to a booster for the most vulnerable, those with serious physical conditions and elderly, and those who bump into them.

Jay Ambrose is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may email him at speaktojay@aol.com.