Vaccination is not just about self, but the whole society

Sin Chew Daily

The national vaccination program is being carried out in full swing at this moment.

As of Sept 1, some 65.1% of the country’s adult population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, while 85.1% has received one dose of the vaccine.

It is anticipated that the country will achieve the goal of 80% adult population being fully vaccinated by the end of October.

Even as the vaccination program is running smoothly, there are some hidden concerns because there are still people who are reluctant to get themselves vaccinated.

Lately, three students lodged a police report to express their rejection of vaccination. And this is not an isolated case. According to the statistics of Melaka state education department, 41 teachers have expressly rejected vaccination. Earlier, as many as 779 teachers in Johor also refused to be inoculated. There should be many more around the country that are vaccine-hesitant.

The vaccine is a “critical weapon” against the virus. The more people are vaccinated, the better the effects will be, as this will help minimize the risk of infection and curtail the spread of the virus.

Although an immunized person can still get infected, at least the risk of severe illness and death will be significantly reduced. Refusing to go for vaccination not only exposes a person but also his or her friends and relatives to infection risks, and could potentially endanger the entire society by giving the virus a unique opportunity to spread in our midst.

While these people may have their reasons for rejecting vaccination, the authorities have the obligation to step up communication with them, trying to understand their reasons for rejecting vaccination and offering guidance and explanation to help clear their doubts.

Some people have refused to get vaccination owing to health reasons, pregnancy or undesirable side effects. In view of this, the authorities must try to provide professional consultation and wherever possible encourage them to get their shots.

Save for health reasons, there should be no excuse why a person should not be vaccinated.

To achieve the goal of herd immunity, the easiest and crudest way of doing things is to make vaccination mandatory for all adult Malaysians, but this entails the issue of human rights violation.

Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin has said that at this juncture the government will not mandate vaccination but will require those refusing to get vaccinated to go for regular tests, including RT-PCR. Nevertheless, as the minister has said, a person without serious health issues should be vaccinated.

Vaccination is the most effective way of stopping the spread of the virus. No matter how careful we are, it is extremely hard for us to fend off the highly transmissive new variant.

Indeed, those unwilling to go for vaccination do have their worries and concerns, but statistics tell us that the infection risk is significantly higher for unvaccinated individuals, not to mention the risk of them spreading the virus to people around them.

The coronavirus pandemic is not just a personal war between the virus and an individual, but the whole society. No one should therefore exclude themselves in this war. Vaccination is not just about a person’s preference but the well-being of our society as a whole.

For the sake of ourselves, our families and the society, where our health conditions permit, please go for vaccination. We need the concerted effort from everyone of us to win this tough battle.

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