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Editor, The Beacon:

As a retired first responder, I find the current conflict over vaccine mandates to be incredibly sad. It is also massively stupid. It is not, and should never have been, a political issue.

Back in the early 1990s, the Food and Drug Administration approved a vaccine for hepatitis B. Hepatitis B was not a pandemic, nor was it highly contagious or lethal. Nevertheless, it was a danger to the community at large, and first responders were required to take the hepatitis B vaccine.

There was some minor grumbling about it, but that is all it was: minor grumbling. Nobody in my fire department quit or was fired because they refused to take the vaccine. One hundred percent of us took the vaccine. Why? Because it was the right thing to do. The vaccine had been proven to be safe, it had proven to be effective, and our taking it made us and the community we served safer.

Now, we have a disease that is highly contagious and will end up killing more than a million Americans. But a large percentage of Americans are refusing to take the vaccine that could stem the damage the disease is doing to our society, because they have been fed massive misinformation about the vaccine by people who hope to gain political advantage by dividing us with fear and hate in a time of distress.

The vaccine has been proven to be safe. More than 5 billion doses have been administered worldwide, and the number of documented negative reactions is minuscule, possibly able to be counted on my fingers and toes.

The vaccine has proven to be effective. Less than 2 percent of the cases resulting in death or severe hospitalizations have occurred in people who have received the vaccines. It is also readily and freely available to anyone in this country. People are dying needlessly because of the stupidity of those who refuse to take this vaccine.

They are no different than drunken drivers. They are making a choice that can kill both themselves and their neighbors.

And, just like drunken drivers, anyone who chooses to be so immature and irresponsible should be forced to face the consequences of their actions. Firing them from their jobs is completely justified. Why? Because it is the right thing to do. It is not a political issue.

Russ White

Orange City


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