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LETTER: Vaccination part of the solution

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Letter to the Editor

"Freedom isn't free."

This saying is often invoked on occasions honoring those who serve in our military, but it is just as true of most civic behavior.

Every law places some limits on freedom. But if there is to be a measure of liberty for all, each individual must give up some measure of his/her liberty. "My freedom to swing my arms ends, where your nose begins."

The legality of mandatory public health measures such as quarantine and vaccination is well established in our country. E.g., in 1906 the Supreme Court upheld mandated vaccination in a case concerning a Massachusetts pastor who challenged his state's mandate of smallpox vaccination.

The Court noted that the Constitution does not always allow Americans to behave as they choose. To quote Justice Harlan in that case, "Real liberty for all could not exist regardless of injury that may be done to others."

A vaccination is not a personal sacrifice, so much as a precious gift that confers a measure of freedom from threat of a deadly disease. In present case, the disease has killed 700,000 in our country alone and millions worldwide.

The safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccines has been verified by scientific research of a kind we ordinary folk are not qualified to do for ourselves. But anyone may follow statistics on the spread of the pandemic, and see that it wanes where people accept vaccinations, and surges in places where they refuse. That is a matter of fact, not of personal opinion.

There is no "medical freedom" to risk infecting others with a deadly disease. Rather, there is a civic duty we have to each other: to be, not part of the problem, but part of the solution; to do our part toward curbing the spread of COVID-19 by following the mandates.

Peggy Brayfield, Charleston


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