Opinion: ‘We should not face the possibility of losing our jobs over a personal health care decision’

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance shares his views of Gov. Jay Inslee’s a new vaccine mandate for most state employees, private health care and long-term care workers

Clark County Today Editor Ken Vance shares his views of Gov. Jay Inslee’s a new vaccine mandate for most state employees, private health care and long-term care workers

I upset a very good friend last week, a friend who I’ve had for at least 25 years. A friend I don’t agree with most of the time, but a friend I agree with all of the time. If you’re like me it’s likely happened to you in the last 18 months or so. In fact, if you’re anything like me, it’s probably happened to you many more times than just once. This pandemic has ripped us apart and I’m sick of it. 

Editor Ken Vance
Editor Ken Vance

The majority of this group of friends I’m speaking of have gathered in the fall for more than 30 years now for our fantasy football league draft. The lone exception was last year when we met virtually due to COVID-19. This year, however, we’ve made plans to return to an in-person gathering. In most of the past 30-plus years, the only time I’ve seen many of these friends in person is at this one annual gathering. We’ve often called it the best day of our year.

Our group has obviously aged. Most of us have health issues, common with men in their advanced years. I’ve been a little nervous about our upcoming gathering so I asked what I thought was a fairly innocuous question in a group text thread.

I’m as conservative and support freedom and individual rights as much as any of my friends in this league. I support your right to make your own decisions. I am an old man with comorbidities. I chose to get the COVID-19 vaccine. I would like to know if anyone planning on attending the draft has not been vaccinated so I can then make my own decision.’’

Immediately, the text responses came pouring into my phone. Every member of the league who responded, simply shared that they had been vaccinated. Except one. And, he was not happy with my question. I tried to explain that it wasn’t a loaded question. I didn’t care if there were members of the league who weren’t vaccinated. I wasn’t going to suggest that unvaccinated members shouldn’t attend, or needed to wear a mask or even social distance. I was simply going to use the information to make my own decision. If the overwhelming majority of us had been vaccinated, I would be comfortable attending. If a significant amount of those coming were not vaccinated, I would simply bow out and ask if I could participate virtually. I hope the issue I created gets resolved. I cherish my friendship with the person I upset.

The ironic thing is I have absolutely no idea whether or not the vaccine will save me or eventually kill me, or maybe it won’t have any impact either way. I really struggled with the decision. I asked virtually everyone I had access to before I made the decision. Finally, I decided the possible benefit outweighed the potential risk. I have never once suggested to anyone else that they should make the same decision I made.

I have essentially done everything our health officials have asked of us during this pandemic. For the most part, I have self quarantined. On the rare occasions I go out in public, I wear a mask at the appropriate times. But, I don’t tell others what decisions they should make. Again, I’m not convinced anyone really knows anything with certainty about COVID-19, including the effectiveness of masks and vaccinations. I’ve made my decisions for my own reasons and I have never once shamed anyone for making their own choices.

On Monday, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new vaccine mandate for most state employees, private health care and long-term care workers. He referred to COVID-19 as “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.’’ I find that ridiculous. If it was true, and vaccines were indeed the simple, safe and effective solution, then why would the 70 percent of us who are vaccinated have any concerns about the 30 percent who are not?

Like many Washingtonians, I’m sick of the governor mandating our individual choices and taking away our freedoms. House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox (2nd District) and Senate Republican Leader John Braun (20th District) released a statement after Inslee’s announcement.

Sen. John Braun and Rep. J.T. Wilcox
Sen. John Braun and Rep. J.T. Wilcox

“Vaccinations can save lives and we have strongly encouraged people to get them. We have been vaccinated ourselves. But getting the vaccine is a personal health-care choice and should not be mandated by any level of government. Threatening to terminate someone’s job if they don’t comply with this requirement is heavy-handed and wrong. The governor should show humility, listen to those who have concerns about the vaccine, and look to provide other options – including incentives.

“Similar to past announcements, we learned of the governor’s decision from the media. Those impacted by his decision, and their state lawmakers, have again been prevented from having a role in this process. This is yet another example of why we need emergency powers reform. Other states have enacted limits on their executive branches, but Democrats in our state have been afraid to challenge Governor Inslee. Call a special session. Give the people a meaningful say in these decisions.”

My point is this. We don’t need our elected officials to mandate or legislate what we should or should not do. As much as they think they do, I have never been presented with evidence that they know more about what’s best for us than we do. And, even if they did, this country was founded on freedom and individual rights. We should not face the possibility of losing our jobs over a personal health care decision.

And, even though I evoked a negative reaction from a close friend recently with my question about who in our group was vaccinated, I am not in agreement with Gov. Inslee. I am not trying to influence your decisions or curb your behavior. I am simply seeking all the information I can gather to make the best decision for me. And I hope my friend can soon understand that I’m just living by the principles and core values that we share.

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RN x 30 years
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RN x 30 years
3 months ago

Healthcare works can choose to not vaccinate. It’s their choice… if they choose to not vaccinate they are choosing to move away from hands on patient care… first oath a nurse takes upon graduation, “cause no harm.” Well at Peacehealth SW the healthcare workers caused harm by spreading Covid throughout the hospital to patients who otherwise would not have had Covid two times in the past 12 months!!! Those days are coming to an end! Vax up or move out of hands on patient care!!

Last edited 3 months ago by RN x 30 years
Jim Durham
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Jim Durham
1 month ago
Reply to  RN x 30 years

One problem that is rarely mentioned in the liberal media is that the vaccinated are getting sick from the vaccine and having to go to the hospital even though they already had Covid. In my small world, I personally know of two that are sick right now. So to say that patients are safe because of medical workers who have had the 2 shots is not true at all.

Stupidsmart
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Stupidsmart
3 months ago

I’m not a conservative by any stretch, and I believe this mandate is illegal, unconstitutional and immoral. The so-called “vaccines” have not been approved by the FDA or otherwise endorsed by them; they are only allowed due to a perceived emergency situation. They are essentially synthetic gene altering poisons designed to provoke an unnatural emergency situation within our bodies. Whether this response is the lesser of two evils is yet to be determined, and eliminating the control group for an un-approved treatment seems like a dumb idea.
I have not been jabbed, and so far my normal immune system and common sense have been 100% effective and 100% safe. I work in a hospital and expect to be unlawfully terminated in mid-October.

Ron
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Ron
3 months ago
Reply to  Stupidsmart

You had me until “gene altering”. Employers should be able to set conditions for employment. Healthcare workers don’t work for Inslee.

RickBG
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RickBG
3 months ago

WA population over 12 is 6,529,327. 4,615,206 have been vaccinated and add the 504,132 (over 12?) who had the virus equals 5,119,338 who are IMMUNIZED (poked or natural) which is 78 and a half percent of ‘Washingtonians’. The current WA government goal is 100% immunization and this virus 100% gone. How many virus’ have been totally “killed”? Colds are a virus. Every year flu season is due to a virus. So Islee simply wants ‘dictatorial-type’ controls over “sheep-like” populace. (unless recalled).

pete masterson
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pete masterson
3 months ago
Reply to  RickBG

Smallpox has been “eradicated,” in so far that it only exists in laboratory settings. I can recall being vaccinated for smallpox as a child and when I joined the Army in the 1960s. Smallpox vaccinations were made by scratching the skin with a solution containing a weakened version of the virus. Most of those vaccinated had a permanent scar most often on their upper arm.

Polio has been almost “eradicated.” There hasn’t been a case in the U.S. since 1979, yet the disease still persists in a few remote areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I can recall my parents keeping me quarantined during summer (when the disease was most active) in the early 50s. When the Salk vaccine came out, I was vaccinated. Later when the Sabin oral vaccine came out, I was again vaccinated.

Of course many other “childhood” diseases have been significantly reduced through vaccination. I suffered through chicken pox, measles, and other such diseases in childhood, all now have effective vaccines.

As for flu vaccine — I take my shot each year and haven’t had a “bad” case of the flu in some time. (Flu virus mutates rapidly, and the vaccine providers estimate what the next “hot” variant might be, causing misses in some years where the active virus wasn’t the one predicted. Still, taking the vaccine lowers the odds of infection. The ongoing flu “fear” is that the variant of 1918 (that killed millions—far more than COVID-19) might return.

Sadly, a group of British doctors released a study in 1995 that seemed to show that the MMR (Mumps-measles-rubella) vaccine was “associated” with Autism. Ultimately this relationship was shown to be simply a statistical quirk. (A statistical relationship does not show “cause.” e.g. Ice Cream Cart sales in Central Park are statistically closely associated with muggings. But both are influenced by good weather that brings more ice cream purchasers (and mugging victims) into the park.) Eventually, the original paper reporting the link was “withdrawn.” Many subsequent studies have shown exactly zero linkage to vaccines with autism.

Subsequently, a great many people have become far more suspect about vaccinations (especially for children) even though the risk of death from disease far exceeded the chances of autism, even if the study had been true. It should be noted that “autism spectrum” disorders have increased in recent years. But two factors are at play (1) the “definition” of “autism spectrum” has been broadened and (2) there is an incentive for schools to push for autism diagnosis, as it generates extra funding for students with that diagnosis. (This is not meant to denigrate parents with autistic children, which can be a devastating situation.)

michelle cubellis
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michelle cubellis
3 months ago
Reply to  RickBG

I don’t agree with that it sounds like he’s trying to do his job and protect the residents of this state I got both vaccines so I won’t get covid and I don’t want to spend money in a business that has unvaccinated emoyees I’m high risk even after the vaccine so it should mandate all able employees less religious or health reasons get vaccine a carrier might not get sick but can spread it to others like me.

K.J. Hinton
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K.J. Hinton
3 months ago
Reply to  RickBG

.

Last edited 3 months ago by K.J. Hinton
Mr. F
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Mr. F
3 months ago

No Doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional should be allowed to make a decision that affects the lives of their patients. We, the public, depend on them to make the best choice for all of us. They have placed themselves in a position that demands action. Quit or get the shot. YOU DON’T GET TO MAKE CHOICES THAT KILL OR HARM YOUR PATIENTS.
Another point, no one is forcing anyone to do anything. You make decision based off the information available. I have read large chucks of that info and it is freaking scary. We have to get a head of Delta and the other variants before the mutation becomes as dangerous as we know this virus could become. That being said, make your choice but understand that if you choose wrong. It will likely cost someone their life. That is neglecting the personal responsibility that we all have to maintain to truly be free.

J W
Guest
J W
3 months ago
Reply to  Mr. F

“No Doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional should be allowed to make a decision that affects the lives of their patients”… That’s literally what their job is. Just sayin’.

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