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Why I am not getting the vaccine

Courtesy of Samuel Sey
Courtesy of Samuel Sey

Our governments have failed to convince many of us to get the COVID vaccine. So they’re now attempting to coerce us into getting it.

Vaccine passports are the latest form of authoritarian approaches by our governments in reaction to COVID-19. And yet, many people remain unconcerned by our governments’ oppressive reactions.

In fact, in Canada, most people support mandatory vaccines.

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Therefore, some Canadian provinces — like many nations and regions around the world —have instituted a form of vaccine passport. A couple of days ago, Quebec joined Manitoba and Prince Edward Island as one of the Canadian provinces to establish vaccine passports.

The premier of Quebec, François Legault, said:

“The principle behind the vaccine passport is that people who have made the effort to get their two doses should be able to live a semi-normal life. … We will give certain privileges to those who have agreed to make the effort to get their two shots.”

These “privileges” include access to “non-essential” services for vaccinated people. Meaning, unvaccinated people will not have access to non-essential services.

In other words, Quebec has established a system that labels some citizens as essential and other citizens as non-essential. They are separating who they believe are first-class citizens from who they believe are second-class citizens. 

Canadian provinces are openly and unashamedly segregating people over the vaccine, and most Canadians support that. 

One of these Canadians is Justin Trudeau. He’s shared his support for Quebec’s vaccine passports. And he’s considering making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for federally regulated workplaces. 

If that happens, some of my relatives and friends would be forced between violating their conscience so they could provide for their families and losing their livelihoods so they could maintain their conscience. 

Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms explicitly says “freedom of conscience” is one of our fundamental freedoms. The vaccine passports, however, are a threat to that right. 

Still, since our federal and provincial governments have consistently violated our freedom of religion and freedom of peaceful assembly — why wouldn’t they finally attempt to violate our freedom of conscience too?

This is the consequence of our compliance and apathy to government overreach. When our governments infringe on some of our rights without any significant or collective pressure for them to stop, we tempt them to violate all our rights and freedoms. 

That is partly why I am not getting the vaccine. The more our governments and culture attempt to force me to get the vaccine, the more unwilling I am to get it. I want our politicians and public health officials to convince me to get the vaccine. I don’t want them to coerce me into getting it.

After all, if I violate my conscience concerning the vaccine because of social pressure, that will surely make me vulnerable to violating my conscience on other issues because of social pressure. 

I do not want to legitimize authoritarianism. Most of the people I know who’ve gotten the vaccine tell me they did so because they wanted the government to end the restrictions. They didn’t get the vaccine because they believed it was necessary for their health. They got the vaccine because they believed it was necessary for their freedom.

But obeying oppressive governments isn’t the way to end oppression. Allowing authoritarian politicians to become even more powerful isn’t a recipe for freedom. Authoritarians do not relinquish their power after they’ve attained it. There is no such thing as a temporary or circumstantial authoritarian government. 

Nevertheless, rejecting coercion isn’t the only reason why I am not getting the vaccine. I am not convinced the vaccine is the most healthy option for me and most people. I am not suggesting I believe the vaccine is unhealthy for most people. I’m strictly suggesting I am unconvinced the vaccine is the healthiest option for the average person.

COVID-19 isn’t a threat to the overwhelming majority of people. Essentially 99% of people are unlikely to die from the virus. Why then should it be necessary for 100% of people to get the vaccine? Especially when vaccinated people are not completely protected from getting the virus and infecting others with it.

A doctor advised one of my relatives not to get the vaccine. The doctor said since my relative isn’t one of the people vulnerable to being harmed by the virus — and since my relative maintains a healthy lifestyle — they shouldn’t consider the vaccine.

That doctor has been my relative’s doctor for over two decades. The doctor knows my relatives’ immune system better than anyone. They are an expert on my relative’s health. 

However, most people in Canada believe public health officials and politicians are better experts on my relative’s health than that doctor. Because of that, they support mandatory vaccines and vaccine passports that would coerce my relative to refuse their doctor’s advice in order to avoid segregation. 

Black Canadians, like my relative and I, are the most unwilling people in Canada to get the COVID vaccine. And yet, though our governments supposedly lament segregating black people in the past — they’re threatening to disproportionately segregate us again through vaccine passports. Since critical race theorists have convinced our governments that racial disparities prove racial discrimination, shouldn’t they believe vaccine passports are systemically racist?

Nevertheless, like my relative — I’m committing myself to a healthier lifestyle. I am exercising regularly to become healthier person. I’ve hired a fitness trainer to keep me accountable. I’m also taking vitamin D supplements and maintaining a more balanced and healthier diet.

For relatively healthy people, that is more trustworthy than a vaccine with apparently short-term and potentially unknown long-term complications. 

Generally, I know the long-term results of my exercises and diet. I don’t know the long-term results of the vaccine.

So Lord willing, I am not getting the vaccine. 

However, soon — that could mean the government will decide that I no longer have the “privilege” to worship at my “non-essential” church.

If you support vaccine passports or mandatory vaccines, If — or when — the government decides I no longer have the “privilege” to go to church, would you agree with the government? 

Originally published at Slow to Write

Samuel Sey is a Ghanaian-Canadian who lives in Brampton, a city just outside of Toronto. He is committed to addressing racial, cultural, and political issues with biblical theology, and always attempts to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

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