I have a friend who refuses to get vaccinated. Part of it is that he doesn’t believe in Western medicine, but mostly he is just stubborn and doesn’t like anyone telling him what to do. He is no dummy. He wears a mask and bumps elbows instead of shaking hands. He knows that COVID-19 kills. Yet I can’t seem to persuade him to get his shots.

I have used all the usual arguments: Vaccines save lives. Vaccines are safe and rigorously tested. Vaccines help us achieve community immunity. (I prefer that to herd immunity, which makes us sound like livestock.)

Sadly, vaccine hesitancy is only going to prolong the pandemic. People will continue to get sick and die from this awful virus. I know my friend doesn’t believe that his refusal to get vaccinated is responsible for worsening the crisis.

But his attitude is part of a larger problem in our self-centered culture, where individuals feel alienated from one another, taking no responsibility for the health and well-being of others. It is blind obeisance to personal freedom, without empathy, the ultimate antisocial behavior.

This country was founded on community values as shown by brave farmers and fishermen who voluntarily took up arms against British troops. We need that kind of team spirit now to defeat COVID.

John Maybury

Moss Beach

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