No poke, no privilege

COVID-19 vaccines have been a controversial topic amongst the nation since their proposal, but now, places are requiring that customers, travelers, and individuals be vaccinated with proof.


To get poked, or to not get poked. This question has plagued the minds of communities in regards to protecting themselves against the novel coronavirus. And while the shot has remained mostly voluntary, some are finding that the option to become vaccinated is becoming less of a choice and more of a mandated requirement with limited alternatives.

While it is true that the vaccine is completely voluntary, unless one finds themselves backed into an unfortunate corner in the medical field, many public and private institutions are requesting proof of vaccination upon arrival at venues. While it is not inherently criminal to ask this simple question to would-be customers, there is something quite unsettling about requesting the medical records of every individual just so that they may attend or enter certain vicinities. Many people simply wish to settle back into normalcy and continue with their everyday lives, yet it is hard to do so when one feels that their liberties to privacy are continuously violated on a daily basis. 

Certainly, there are instances where individuals’ rights are sacrificed for the good of a community – public smoking restrictions being among them – but it may be pointed out that those play a direct role in the health of other societal members. Second-hand smoking was and still is a problem in some areas because it caused health problems for people who did not partake in the action of lighting up. The vaccine is not so clear-cut and excusable. True, it does help protect oneself from potentially developing the more severe symptoms of the virus, but it does not necessarily prevent any one person from contracting the virus. It might for some, but a majority of vaccine recipients are still able to develop symptoms and pass the illness on to the next person. Therefore, it is reasonable to question the requirements to have proof of vaccination for certain activities. If it does not necessarily prevent the communal spread of the virus, but instead lessens the symptoms of individuals, then it should still be left up to individuals to decide whether or not they feel comfortable in getting the vaccine before rejoining and partaking in public activities. Unlike masks, which do contribute to preventing the spread of the virus, the vaccine should not be mandated or required, it should remain a choice.

Unfortunately, due to the structure of the government and the mindsets of many public and private landowners, the ability to set regulations that require guests to be vaccinated is protected under the Constitution. However, just because it is constitutional does not make it morally acceptable. Some people feel as if the vaccine is being forced down their throats in order for them to continue to live the lives they want to. Medical professionals are often required to get it, lest they lose their job, while others simply wish to be able to go out into public and have the freedom to do the activities they enjoyed before the outbreak. Yes, people have an obligation to the greater good, but that responsibility should never come at the cost of giving up their private liberties in life for restrictions that do not guarantee the protection they are in place for. 

There are not many businesses requiring customers to present proof of other vaccinations, yet it has somehow become custom to require this one. It is understandable that they would want to do everything they could to help gain a handle on the pandemic, but if the vaccine is not really doing all that much to stop the contraction of the virus, then how is it in any way helping to require it? All the regulations are doing are forcing people into corners. Get the vaccine and continue to live life like before with the freedom to all amenities, or resist the prompts and persuasions of the government and others to get the vaccine, and be confined to live with a permanent mask of barriers. Simply put, get this and be rewarded, or refuse and be limited. It is irresponsible and immoral for professionals and those in influential positions to rush the choice upon individuals – pandemic or not.

People reserve the liberty to withhold medical information about themselves, and therefore, should not be banned from places when exercising their rights. Had the vaccine been developed enough to the point where it would definitely prevent the majority of recipients from contracting the disease, it would be a completely different situation. The reality is, however, that places – both in the U.S. and outside of it, including international travel – are incentivizing people to make a choice one way or the other, without really having the cause to do so. Choose wrong, and one might just find themselves limited in their freedom of activities, something that should be guaranteed in life.