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By Chris Marshall
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Lockdown 3.0: Vaccinate, Vaccinate, Vaccinate!

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Am beginning to think that Twitter should introduce some for of pre sign up test (to ensure people can read) and maybe some entry level of intelligence could be set (to be fair to Twitter this applies across all Social Media), a passport if you like – which of course you wont based on the reaction to the muted COVID-19 Passport is anything to go by.

Guess what I have picked as this weeks topic?

First though let me clear that overall Social Media is great. It is still in its early days (I know seems to have been around for years but we still haven’t figured how to really use it), and I spend many a happy session on it interacting with friends and foe alike. The key work here – interacting!

Being told I am a MORON (the internet equivalent of shouting) is not going to make me change my opinion, nor is going to make me inclined to believe you have a coherent, structured, though out argument to support your view. 100% you are entitled to your view and to express it as you want, and given the childish way so many of our MP’s and Media Commentators behave it is impossible not to see where this trend comes from, but debate it is not.

I get that the country is angry: Brexit, COVID-a9, England v India give good reason and plenty of evidence of that, but there is no excuse for not being reasoned, civil, prepared to acknowledge the other side of the argument.

On Brexit I would have remained, but we have left. I do not “have” to change my opinion, nor do I have to “like” it, but I do need to “accept” it which I have. I remain (pun intended) convinced that it will be a mistake, but I will not get in the way of those that want to make it work, which is a key point in my world! I do not feel it is remotely “down to me” to make Brexit work, but it is certainly mature and reasonable of me to remain passive and let others get on with it.

With COVID-19 there is no doubt that many people have and will continue to suffer, and I hope that sooner rather than later this government is held to account for its woeful handling of this countries response to the pandemic. I also hope this account identifies how fractured this country has become, how the lifestyle we have adopted contributed to the devastation this virus has caused, and how societies unwillingness to “think about other people” as the Queen recently said when talking about the vaccination has extended the misery for us all.

This week I ventured to ask the question, not offer an opinion, as to how many of those opposing the concept of a digital covid passport would remain true to their convictions if such a passport was introduced and as such their decision not to vaccinate precluded them from certain activities they had previously enjoyed.

No real surprise that the majority decided to read this as a criticism of people not taking a vaccine (I am 100% in favour of people being allowed to make their own decisions), or an opportunity to rant about infringements on human rights (always a good one this as human rights work two ways i.e. the pubic have a right that the government will do all that is reasonable to protect them), or – the biggest response – that once people were vaccinated they were “safe” and so what did it matter if they mixed with non vaccinated people.

Where to begin?

If you don’t want to take a vaccine, don’t. It’s as simple as that but if you decide not to having been told in advance that you will not be allowed on a flight, into a stadium, to go to into a pub or restaurant, to work in certain jobs then accept that it was your decision, knowing these restrictions, and that the consequences are down to you and you alone. Now of course, this is only valid if the decision on passports has been made before you make your decision, and that is 100% an issue with the way this government dithers.

For the record as I write this the EU have confirmed digital covid passports will be required for entry into countries, and many sporting and entertainment organisations are talking about initial entry being restricted to those that have been vaccinated

Personally I was never against National ID cards when David Blunkett tried to introduce them: maybe because I met him several times and he always delivered on what he said he would, largely because I never felt I had anything to hide or that would be remotely interesting to a government! We have passports to travel, licenses to drive cars, vaccinations to enter certain countries so really, when you strip out all the emotion, what is the difference?

By far my largest ‘concern’ though is this mentality that once you are vaccinated you are safe. No vaccine has ever been 100% effective in preventing anyone catching the virus. Many will still catch (and transmit) the virus, but hopefully very few will get get extremely ill or die, but some will, as we know from Flu.

So even if you are vaccinated you can still become ill, and you can certainly transmit it: which will have a larger effect on those that are unvaccinated than aren’t. So yes, if you are not afraid of catching it I can see why you don’t want the vaccination but …… look at how many people have been hospitalised throughout the last year because of the virus, and don’t think age is a protective barrier as over the course of the year with new variants cropping up, the age of those needing hospitalisation has been dropping. The younger you are the less likely you are to die (of anything), but you are not immune.

In a way it’s a simple case of mathematics: the more people that are vaccinated the less chance any of us catch the virus. The less people that catch the virus, the less people get ill, spread it, die. The sooner we are all feeling fit and confident to embrace a normal life the sooner the pubs, stadium and venues will be full, tables in restaurants will be buzzing.

Is it really that hard to understand? Is it really so hard to do your bit? At the very least is it really so hard to shut up and if you don’t want to be vaccinated, you don’t want a digital passport, stop trying to persuade others. Impact your own life yes – that’s your human right – but it is not your human right to impact others.

The vaccinations are here, the digital passports are coming (3 months in the EU so just in time really for your summer holidays), and both are very likely to stay with us so really at the very least, let those that want to make a success of the vaccination program get on with it and don’t try and stop them.

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