Jim Tejeka is the latest anti-vaxxer to whine about how he is being discriminated against because he chose to not be vaccinated against COVID-19 (June 30 letter to editor in The Reflector). We heard similar arguments years ago from smokers, who complained about new “discriminatory” restrictions, which violated their constitutional rights (ultimately, to kill themselves and others). I’m so glad that Tejeka had negative COVID tests, but what does he say about the 604,000 American deaths and millions of others who suffered but eventually (mostly) recovered?
He claimed the danger of COVID is diminishing without acknowledging there is a current resurgence of the delta variant, which appears to be more deadly and more transmissible than the original strain. Infections and deaths are increasing in pockets of our country (and certainly in other parts of the world), where vaccination rates are low, and the overwhelming majority of those infections are among individuals who have not been vaccinated. Unfortunately, we will be exposed to delta and other deadly emerging variants unless we can develop herd immunity, but that requires about an 80 percent vaccination rate. We’re currently less than 50 percent fully vaccinated, thanks primarily to Tejeka and his cohorts.
He offered an absurd statement that dictators require us to be vaccinated. Of course, there is no such requirement, only common sense and decency. Remarkably, he attempted to equate the Thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s with the safety of COVID vaccines, however, that drug was never approved by the FDA, nor did it undergo the COVID style of rigorous testing and analysis by many research studies involving tens of thousands of volunteers and patients. He challenged the 90-95 percent efficacy of the COVID vaccines and he appeared to be unaware that such a high level is extraordinary. A 50 percent vaccine efficacy is considered good enough to be approved by the FDA.
Tejeka’s attitude and actions are selfish and reckless at best. At worst, he and his like-minded anti-vaxxers continue to infect themselves and others, perpetuating the suffering and deaths of those who are vulnerable to the disease. He has the audacity to equate the mantra “we are all in this together” with how, in a democratic society, we all have the freedom to choose to receive the vaccine, or not. It would be nice if we could collaboratively defeat this terrible pandemic by protecting ourselves and our families by receiving the vaccine. I wonder how his attitude might change if he or a family member became infected because of his pathetic, misguided and dangerous mission.
Finally, I encourage Tejeka and other anti-vaxxers to review some literature about solving the pandemic, to get a clue, and to open their eyes, once they remove their heads from their rear ends.