Etiquette and Ethics with Vaccines

Etiquette and Ethics with Vaccinations

I read Kwame Anthony Appiah’s column for The New York Times addressing ethical questions for ordinary folks each week. I have questions about etiquette and ethics regarding Covid vaccinations.

Yesterday, on the 3rd of July, I engaged in this conversation:

Me (to a 30-something woman):                    What brings you joy?

Her:                                                                 Oh, I like to plan vacations.

Me:                                                                  Where is your next adventure going to take you?

Her:                                                                 Ibiza. But, I’d have to get vaccinated.

Her (turning to her BF):                                  That’s the ONLY thing that would make me get vaccinated.

Her 45-year-old BF:                                       You could just buy one for 5 cents online.

Me (grateful my sunglasses covered my shock and disgust knowing that she was spending the night in our home).  Nothing came out of my mouth. Here was the son of a physician with an advanced degree and his girlfriend acknowledging that she was not vaccinated, but sitting in our home.

Me (to the 45-year-old):                                 Are you vaccinated?

Him:                                                                Yes. She had Covid.

Me (my brain calling up the facts I know

about Covid transmission and sure that

 you can still carry the virus, especially

the new variant, but not wanting to be

rude):                                                              What were your symptoms?

Her:                                                                 No big deal.  It felt like strep throat.

Personally, my closest loss to Covid was my cousin, Mikey. I kept my mouth closed thinking that these two would ask about underlying conditions.  Mikey was 54 and had Downs Syndrome. 

Personally, my friends, including their 93-year-old mother had Covid over the holidays. Seven months later, they still do not smell and taste.

Personally, my friend’s sister is on a ventilator in Las Vegas right now. She is a transplant patient making the fight even more difficult. Her father wrote this: “No one’s fault.  Just mad at the situation. But let me tell you, if you may be one of those that thinks Covid’s a hoax, I sure as hell don’t wanna’ hear about it.”

Which brings me to my question on etiquette and ethics – does one have an obligation to get vaccinated? If one chooses to not be vaccinated, should they acknowledge that before staying in someone’s home? Should someone wear a mask when visiting to identify themselves as unvaccinated?

The other day when I visited the Utah Museum of Natural History, all of the children were wearing masks and most of their parents wore them, too. 

Now, the bigger question, why would the next generation of be so cavalier about the health and safety of others? Where is the basic human decency?

About Julie Hooker

I'm a teacher, writer, and editor. In addition, I'm an animal rescuer, yogi, and friend.
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