LETTER: There will be risks of erosion of our human rights

A reader discusses rights behind vaccines.

A vial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.
A vial of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

I was somewhat horrified to read Mr. Plant’s letter regarding compulsory jabs for care home staff.

We have high regard for human rights in this country, one of which is freedom of choice when it comes to our own bodies, which is embedded in the human right of respect for each one of us as individuals.

We only have to look at the situation in some less fortunate countries to know the perils of eroding those freedoms.

Mr Plant seems to be ignoring a very salient fact, as do many people who put forward an argument for compulsory vaccination. Assuming that the residents of care homes have been offered vaccination, then those who have been vaccinated should be protected from the virus, whatever the status of the staff. If any resident has chosen not to be vaccinated, that is their human right and, since we cannot treat other adults as children, we assume they have made that decision, despite being aware of the risk.

There has been pressure to issue vaccination passports to allow venues to open up which is a slightly different issue because it is not dependent upon compulsory vaccination, but would disadvantage those people who have chosen not to be vaccinated. This move must surely be problematic until the vaccine has been offered to the majority of the population because it would create disaffection amongst those people who want a vaccine and a passport but have not yet been offered one.

At the point that everybody has been offered a vaccine, then why would you need a passport? Assuming that a good part of the population, and particularly our vulnerable members, have been vaccinated, the NHS would no longer be at risk from being overwhelmed and society can start to open up anyway.

This letter is not an argument against vaccination and I made the choice to be vaccinated to reduce the burden on the NHS and to allow the economy to open up as soon as possible. We can see in other European countries the effect of not vaccinating enough members of the older and vulnerable populations.

We must, however, resist the temptation to throw the baby out with the bathwater. This pandemic, like pandemics before, will come and go. The world will move on and, hopefully, valuable knowledge will be gained for the future.

The government is not ‘pontificating’ about compulsory vaccination per se but is rightly concerned with maintaining human rights.

As society expands there is pressure on human rights since we all need to voluntarily conform more to make society function.

If we erode our human rights in a mistaken attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the loss will have far-reaching effects for us and for future generations.

Cathy Cheadle, Compton

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