Is it safe to go out now?

Musically I am definitely a child of the eighties. I was student in London, working in a radio station, and top 40 music gave a background to most everything I did. My favourite two bands were Madness and Squeeze, so you can imagine my delight when a few months ago I found out they were touring together, and I excitedly bought a ticket on the day they went on sale. The concert was last Friday at the big Arena in Glasgow and as the evening approached I began to feel more and more nervous.

Omicron was already beginning to spread and in Scotland, a group of those affected had been at a concert at the same venue a week before. This was the first time I had been out to any event like this. I had been to see a couple of films at the cinema, but this was a single room with thousands of singing fans. Should I go?

Well, in the end I decided I would go. I have had all three jabs and was feeling fighting fit. I wore a mask throughout (although most did not). I stayed on the outskirts of the crowd so that I could maintain some kind of social distance. And I left before the encores so that I could get ahead of the crowd.

Was it worth it? I really did love the songs and a great show was put on. And I did not catch Covid. It is now a week later, and tests show me still clear. It was a managed risk. If I had got ill, the chances are it would have been mild.

But I spent the evening on edge. After nearly two years of pandemic we are still nowhere near back to normal. Is it time to live with this disease or is it time to stay safe? What do you think?

How do you show respect to anti-vaxxers?

In the UK the rollout of vaccines has massively beaten expectations. About a third of all adults have now had at least one jab. I am looking forward to my own in the next few weeks. We are already seeing a reduction in hospital admissions and deaths supported by more vaccinated people as well as lockdown. This is allowing the rules to be eased, slowly but surely and I am sure we are all so looking forward to the time when we can get back to normal. Personally I am desperate to leave this house and travel again.

Photo by Reuters

But I still see articles and posts from people refusing to take the vaccine. Such articles usually receive very divisive and angry comments from both sides of the argument, shouting at each other about how stupid the other view is. Personally I strongly support vaccination, but I want to treat the other point of view with respect.

I realise there are different views but the argument against vaccination seems to summarise as:

  • It is my body and I get to decide what I put into it
  • It normally takes years to prove vaccines are safe. This has been rushed
  • I believe in my natural antibodies
  • There are many rumours about why government want us vaccinated. I do not trust them
  • I do not need to be vaccinated if others are

I do not agree with any of these but I have to respect that others do. The one thing I would say however, is that these arguments come from a point of view based on self rather than society. They do not take account sufficiently what a decision not to vaccinate means to others. If a large proportion of the population decides not to vaccinate, it puts the rest of us at risk. For this reason, once we have all been offered a jab, I support the idea of a vaccine passport for people who have been vaccinated, or who have a medical reason from their doctor as to why they should not vaccinate. Just as an individual has a right to choose whether to vaccinate, a business owner should have the right to choose whether to serve someone without such a passport. For instance if I ran an airline, or a sports venue, or a restaurant, I would want to ensure the maximum safety for my other customers.

This week, my 90 year old aunt is in hospital after a bad fall, and has caught Covid-19. Fortunately she was vaccinated a few weeks ago and her immune response appears to be fighting it off. So yes I am prejudiced. I am trying to be prejudiced with respect.

Am I missing something?