Jennie Ridyard
2 minute read
26 Jul 2021
5:05 am

Say no to the vaccine, if you want, but make peace with staying outside, if you do

Jennie Ridyard

Refusing a vaccine is your right, just as choosing to smoke is. In both cases, remember that your choices don't override others' right to health.

Picture: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach

Paris-London-Dublin-Sydney – it’s like the cosmetic bottle route of protests, and all because of vaccines, because of lockdowns, because of efforts, however clumsy or inept, to keep people safe.

The main issue this week seems to be the “green pass”: the electronic document granting access to a restaurant or gallery or gig – or another country – proving that you’ve either been vaccinated, tested negative, or recently recovered from Covid, and therefore won’t make other people sick.

Like getting a yellow fever jab before visiting Ethiopia. Like having a driving licence before getting behind the wheel.

However, protesters claim this is a Bad Thing, an infringement on civil liberties, an attack on their entitlements; that this
is the creation of a two-tier society, with the haves in restaurants waving their napkins drolly at the have-nots outside with their faces pressed to the glass, drooling over steaks they’ll never eat.

As if they didn’t have a choice.

They do though. They can be vaccinated; they can be tested. But no, instead they claim victimhood, their human rights
trampled.

Ironic, that. The closest analogy I can think of is smoking. Back in the day, other people at a restaurant chain-smoked
throughout your main course; wannabe cool dudes plumed smoke in your face in a night club; parents fired up the cancer sticks in one hand with baby in the other; office staff sat in a fug of fagend all day long.

You invariably came home steeped in the stuff, your pillowcase stale with it come morning. Meanwhile, the dangers of second-hand inhalation, the disease, allergies, asthma and pollution, not to mention the stink and the eye-sting – things you didn’t have a say in at all – were secondary to the comfort of the smoker.

The person calling the shots was the person engaging in the risky, toxic behaviour.

Until at last we said no, enough: you don’t get to puff your smoke in my face, my lungs, my life.

Sure, do what you want, just take it outside.

And now? Well, you don’t get to cough your coronavirus at staff, at customers, at those who acknowledge our collective responsibility towards each other during a global pandemic.

Sure, do what you want, just keep it outside.

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