Unvaccinated does not necessarily mean anti-vax

De Facto

NUANCED ISSUE ‘There is a huge difference between an ardent anti-vaxxer and someone who is medically unfit to have a vaccination’.

De Facto
Liamy MacNally

A danger with the Government promoting vaccinations for children aged five to 12 years is that children who do not get the vaccine could be ‘victimised’. We have seen that already with people who cannot or will not accept vaccinations, for whatever reason.
Some people are medically unable to be vaccinated, others have had a serious negative reaction after the first vaccination, some make ‘personal health integrity’ choices not to be vaccinated while some oppose vaccinations for everybody. Unfortunately for all of these groups, they are banded into one group by senior politicians in this country – ‘the unvaccinated’. And if a politician gets a little riled, they will deem this group as anti-vaxxers. Unvaccinated does not necessarily equate to anti-vax.
There is a huge difference between an ardent anti-vaxxer and someone who is medically unfit to have a vaccination. Regardless of people’s position or status, some politicians have used shaming tactics against the unvaccinated on more than one occasion.
During a recent trip abroad Leo Varadker blamed the 5 percent unvaccinated for the pandemic problems in Ireland; last week the Taoiseach took his turn at the mic to engage in health shaming.  
We pride ourselves as a nation as being tolerant and upholders of equality when it comes to age, gender, race, religion, disability, family status, marital status, sexual orientation and membership of the Traveller community. The prohibition of discrimination against each of these nine grounds is enshrined in the law of the land (The Equal Status Acts 2000-2018).
It is discouraging, disheartening and completely dishonourable to listen to Messrs Martin, Varadkar and Donnelly constantly make health-shaming remarks in the way they do. It is disrespectful and dishonest in the extreme.
What will happen when it emerges that some students and young children are not in a position to be vaccinated? Will that health shaming continue by those in Government? Do they have any idea the damage, angst and fear their hurtful words are creating in the minds of so many? The Lancet carried an article on November last called ‘Covid-19: stigmatising the unvaccinated is not justified’.
Former head of the HSE Tony O’Brien, wrote in the Sunday Business Post last month about blaming the upsurge on the unvaccinated:
“It is tempting to do that, but we should be cautious. This ‘othering’ of the unvaccinated is further compounded by an increasing tendency to refer to the unvaccinated and ‘anti-vaxxers’ in the same breath, as though they were synonymous, which they are not.
“…In terms of the spread of infection, it is inaccurate to suggest that it is down to the unvaccinated. Indeed, doing so deflects from three key issues that simply cannot be laid at the feet of the unvaccinated… the government knowingly pursued an opening-up strategy at a time when infection rates were rising, effectively encouraging mass gatherings indoors in nightclubs and other places…
“Secondly, the government has consistently misled us with the mantra that ‘schools are safe’, without any basis for that claim. The highest rates of Covid-19 infection of any age group are now being seen among primary school pupils. Finally, the government dithered all year long on the question of antigen testing, neither trusting nor properly educating the population in their correct use. This has deprived us of the benefits of antigen testing while visiting upon us the maximum harm possible through their well-intentioned but incorrect use.”
Successive governments ‘culled’ hospital beds. EU ICU beds average 11.5 per 100,000 people. In Ireland it is 6.5. Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar were both Health Ministers, yet neither will accept blame for the crisis in the health service. In 2018, the Health Department planned for a total 330 ICU beds by the end of 2021. Not happening!  
The real ‘wave’ we need to focus on is the constant wave of fear being instilled in the population by politicians masquerading as health experts and their ongoing ‘I’ll speak first’ spokespersons spat with Nphet. Pray that children are not their next victims in their health shaming as they cover up their own failures.