November 15, 2021
Covid vaccination is no threat to our freedom. In spite of hysterical anti-vax placard waving, irresponsible gatherings of self-proclaimed martyrs and illegal road blockages none of the rights and freedoms we take for granted in New Zealand are under threat.
We have, as of right, a comparatively free primary and secondary education system. We can live where we choose provided, we can afford the cost of a house or the rent. We can marry anyone we choose, apart from close relatives and these days regardless of gender, or simply set up home with a chosen willing partner without any formal recognition by the state or church.
We are also allowed to work at whatever occupation we choose, provided we have the appropriate qualifications and skills and meet other employment conditions.
These precious rights are however not absolute and all are qualified to some degree, particularly in time of war or civil emergency and we are in the midst of a serious civil emergency. These legal constraints are designed either for national security or protect public safety only.
If we want to drive a truck, a bus or an aircraft we need a licence which proves we are competent for no other reason than the safety of the public. If we want to become a medical professional or a school teacher, we need to undertake significant training and pass examinations to prove we are capable of undertaking those tasks to an acceptable and safe standard.
Many employers, such as freezing works, have additional conditions of employment and insist on regular staff testing for drugs. Smoke a joint on Saturday night, no job on Monday morning, no exceptions, exemptions or excuses. Some employers will now insist on tests for Covid-19.
There are also obligations and constraints, usually self-imposed, out of consideration of those around us. We are allowed to learn to play the bagpipes, drums or violin if we choose but the unintended audience of near neighbours or family members might not be all that impressed with our musical skills at 3a.m. We are even encouraged to stay home from work if we have a common cold or flu to protect work colleagues.
Anyone who is unfit, medically or for any other reason, to undergo training, pass examinations or meet the conditions of employment of whatever trade and profession they choose is by definition unfit to be employed in them. That simple logic seems to have been lost on a growing number of people who bleat and bellow about the loss of the individual rights to employment because they choose not to be vaccinated against Covid-19. That recent employment condition has been added to some occupations simply for the safety of those they come into contact with in the course of their work.
School children in particular have an undeniable right to be protected from potential infection by unvaccinated teachers. Importantly a medical exemption from vaccination, for whatever reason, makes no difference to the risk of passing on the infection. A virus can’t read an exemption certificate. A legal challenge to the right of Government to mandate vaccination for some occupations with a high potential for transmission to others had to fail as it did.
We also have a right to deny access to unvaccinated people to our homes, families or businesses and local authorities can deny access by unvaccinated people to libraries, public swimming pools and other public facilities in the interests of public safety.
There will be very few people now who have not had an opportunity to be vaccinated. No one in mainland New Zealand is so isolated from society that they have not been to town in the past year. Most will have driven past a medical clinic, GPs clinic or vaccination venue several times in that time. We must stop making excuses for them. There are none.
People are free to exercise their legal right to refuse medical treatment, in this case the Covid-19 vaccination, and refuse to meet their social obligations to others. They cannot however reasonably expect others to forgo their right not to be associated with them, employ them or be anywhere near them. That is also an undeniable legal right which a growing number of people will exercise for their safety and the safety of their families.
There is a cost for the illogical belief in social media pseudo-science, superstition and other forms of cerebral masturbation about Covid-19. That cost will eventually be met by all of us through having a group of people in our midst selfish and stupid enough to provide a host population for the virus to survive and develop new and more deadly strains in. That will result in more illness, lockdowns, economic hardship and even death. For our own safety we are not obliged to associate with such dangerously stupid people.