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Post Vaccination, Medical Conditions, and My Cousin Victor
Created by John Eipper on 08/14/21 4:48 AM

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Vaccination, Medical Conditions, and My Cousin Victor (Francisco Ramirez, USA, 08/14/21 4:48 am)

For Enrique Torner: I am truly sorry to hear about your medical condition. Stanford requires vaccination but allows for medical exemptions.

You point out that your condition is rare, affecting less than one percent of the population in the US (1 out of 300,000). But the percent that refuse to be vaccinated is much greater. So, how should we think about the people who refuse to be vaccinated because they continue to believe Covld is a hoax or much exaggerated (you now clearly do not) or a Chinese or Gates plot to attack and control America? Or, those who not understanding contagion, simply asserting that they are healthy. Or, those who assert personal freedom without pointing to their medical conditions as justification for declining?

Are any and all grounds for declining the vaccine morally defensible? Or, more broadly, what ought to be the relationship between personal freedom and the common good? Other than the less than one percent, do not all of these other exercises in personal freedom threaten the common good?

You have decided that the risk of contracting Covid and suffering its effects or transmitting the virus to those who interact with you is lower that the risk of taking the vaccine and suffering "any of its supposedly rare effects." Your use of the word "supposedly" suggests to me that you think the side effects are less rare that claimed by the CDC. For your sake and the sake of your loved ones,I hope your risk analysis is correct.

My wife's cousin and our close friend died of COVID in April. After the doctors at Stanford concluded that there was no path to recovery and that he was no longer contagious, we took him home where we cared for him till he died. We had Hospice help (thank God for Filipino nurses). Victor worked for Home Depot in Santa Rosa where he most likely contracted Covid via interactions with customers. That was the diagnosis of Kaiser doctors in Santa Rosa and reiterated at Stanford. He contracted Covid before vaccinations became more readily available. He too had prior medical conditions that increased his vulnerability. For twenty years Victor's life revolved around AA and his return to the Church. His car looked a bit like an altar. On more than one occasion he moaned "God, why me?" We did not respond: His ways are not our ways. We had no response. He was with us for about six weeks.

I hope your medical issues can be resolved.

JE comments: I just had the realization that I visited the Santa Rosa Home Depot back in 2015. This personal anecdote is unrelated to Cousin Victor's fate, but it perhaps drives home our uncanny interconnectivity. We may not notice such things, but viruses are not so oblivious.

Francisco, you ask the central question vis-a-vis the vaccine: where does personal freedom end, and the common good prevail?  We don't have the freedom to drive on the left side of the road.  Or how about belting up on flights?  The biggest danger is not to you, but to the other passengers at risk if you're bouncing around the plane.

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