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Response to “Sign causes protest” story in the June 6 Tryon Daily Bulletin

Letter to the editor

I would like to respond to some of the “misinformation” claimed by Lee Emerson about Covid-19 and vaccinations.

First, no one is being forced to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Setting goals to have a certain percentage of the population vaccinated does not infringe upon Mr. Emerson’s choice. I’m sure Mr. Emerson sets goals all the time related to things he would like to accomplish in a day, week, month or for his life. All 50 states have laws that require certain vaccinations before children can enter public schools.

Mr. Emerson, where do you stand on this?

Second, as for providing incentives for vaccinations, I bet Mr. Emerson has incentives waiting for him every time he meets a goal he has set. People use incentives all the time to motivate people to do something. “If you cut the grass today, I’ll take you to get some shaved ice” or “we’ll go to that movie you have been wanting to see”. 

Should we call that coercion, forcing someone to do something against their will? I doubt being handed a lottery ticket is going to change someone’s mind if they don’t want a vaccination.

I would also like for Mr. Emerson to explain why all of this is “immoral.” How does this go against generally accepted norms related to the prevention and treatment of disease? Humans have used vaccinations since 1796 as a way to fight debilitating and deadly diseases. Smallpox, a disfiguring and potentially deadly disease that had severely impacted humans for thousands of years was completely irradicated by 1980 due to a worldwide immunization campaign, and polio is close to being irradicated as well. Both of these are viral diseases, as is Covid-19.

These feats would not have been possible without everyone, and I mean everyone, getting behind the goals and efforts to get people vaccinated. It is immoral that this disease has been politicized.

Finally, over 99% of the people have NOT survived this disease in the Unites States as Mr. Emerson stated in the article. The most recent data shows of the 33 million reported cases in the U.S., 597,000 deaths have resulted. This is 98.2% survival rate. This statistic does not include the number of people whose lives have been permanently altered by the loss of a loved one or who will themselves suffer from some of the potential long-term effects Covid-19 can have, such as heart damage, lung damage, strokes, seizures, loss of taste and smell, muscle and joint pain, shortness of breath and fatigue, as well as depression and anxiety.

Mr. Emerson, it is your right to protest. It is your right to not be vaccinated. The only thing that is immoral is your campaign of misinformation related to Covid-19 and vaccinations.

Rob Wilder

Landrum