The rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in Poland is rapidly declining. People are living in a renewed false sense of security. They feel that they have returned to normal life. This feeling may, however, disappear in the fall, which will turn out to be a nightmarish return to lockdown and health care gridlock.
It is time to act now. It is time to act radically. The Polish government must follow the path set by other European countries, including France. If it fails to do so, it will be fully responsible for another fall tragedy.
Firstly, there should be a clear end to the misunderstanding and invocation of liberal ideas by those who question the need for vaccination. A basic liberal principle is “live as you wish and allow others to do so”.
Consequently, refusing to vaccinate for COVID-19 deprive a society of the possibility to live normally, to have the right to education, to have a social life, to be able to self-organize and protest, to travel, or to love. It deprives others of their freedom. It is essential to realize that the collective refusal to vaccinate is tantamount to increasing the risk of another lockdown.
Does anyone invoke libertarian ideas when the individuals are required to be tested for food parasites or other infectious diseases before being employed in food service? Does anyone in their right mind invoke liberal ideas to claim that they have the right to infect their customers with “bugs”? This situation is no different than refusing to vaccinate.
Compulsory vaccination is nothing unusual in Poland. There is a rightful obligation to vaccinate children against many diseases in order to avoid many tragedies of the past. There is an obligation to vaccinate against numerous diseases if we want to travel to endangered remote parts of the world. This is an obvious scientific achievement that no one has questioned for years.
It is high time to set a timetable and introduce a mandatory vaccination for COVID-19 in Poland. This should be launched in stages starting with rewards and sanctions. Mandatory vaccination should be introduced at a time when every citizen is able to get vaccinated. Moreover, any doubts about the safety of vaccines, widely used throughout the world, have after all been dispelled on the basis of empirical experience.
The first point to be introduced on August 1, 2021, should be the introduction of the rule that only vaccinated people and those who have passed COVID-19 in the last 6 months can take part in cultural and sporting events, go to restaurants and pubs, use shopping malls, hotels and have the right to use airlines.
This is necessary in order to prevent another wave of the pandemic and another attempt to introduce a lockdown with dire consequences for the whole society. The government should also firmly announce that any fall lockdown will not affect vaccinated people.
But there is more. Various analyses show that a significant percentage of seniors are still not vaccinated in Poland. A mandatory home vaccination program for seniors should also be introduced. Moreover, even the military should be involved (which would be more helpful than guarding people in quarantines).
As time goes by, there should also be financial sanctions for people who have refused to take advantage of the state-funded vaccination program (i.e., National Health Insurance) and expose the health care system, and therefore the lives of everyone who needs help, to fall strain. Those who are not vaccinated for COVID-19 should pay for everything, except life-saving public health services.
Unvaccinated people, with an appropriate grace period of time, should have their social security benefits suspended. From this should be, nevertheless, excluded health care recipients who have undergone COVID-19 in the past 6 months because they are immune and are not eligible for vaccination.
Preventing another lockdown is the Polish raison d’etre. Our economy cannot afford it. Our children, whose educational opportunities are ruined, cannot afford it. Our psyche, which needs contact with other people, cannot afford it. Sometimes, in order to preserve freedom, it is necessary to introduce radical measures. It is high time for this. It is time for radical action on the issue of vaccination.
The article was originally published in Polish at: https://liberte.pl/czas-na-radykalne-dzialania-w-kwestii-szczepien-na-covid-19/
Translated by Natalia Banas