By Laura Keil, Publisher/Editor

Starting Sept 13th, many establishments—restaurants, fitness facilities, and indoor organized events—now have to check that people are vaccinated before allowing them entry until at least Jan. 31st 2022.

This excludes non-vaccinated people from many optional community activities and places. It’s a bitter pill for people who have quickly become a minority in B.C.

As of Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, only 14% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. hadn’t received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

It doesn’t feel fair that some people’s choices should mean they are barred entry to certain places. Isn’t it like demanding to know how someone votes or whether or not they take certain meds? How can our government possibly impose a law that discriminates based on vaccination?

Well, in a word: pandemic.

The rules of the game have changed. The world has gotten a whole lot smaller and personal decisions are no longer entirely personal. We are far more connected than we’ve ever known, and that says a lot given we live in the age of social media. Simply breathing in someone else’s vicinity is verboten. Because, and I stress this, we are all connected.

Masks are not cutting it. Cases have been rising steadily for weeks. Hospitals are starting to cancel day surgeries because their ICUs are full of COVID-19 patients, mostly those who didn’t get vaccinated. And so, we’re left with a choice: shut down the whole economy again or restrict the people who are most likely to spread the virus to each other and have the worst outcomes if they get sick.

It’s paternalistic. It sucks. But we’re in a pandemic. And saving lives matters more than convenience. By now, we’ve all accepted that to some degree. It stands to reason that those who have decreased their risk of both dying and spreading the virus should have more freedom to mingle with others who have done so as well, while others who haven’t decreased their spreading risk stay home. It actually doesn’t matter what the reason is for not getting vaccinated, which is why the Province hasn’t made any exceptions. Because the virus doesn’t make exceptions either. The virus doesn’t discriminate, and is only stopped by an immune response, caused either by surviving a natural infection or being vaccinated. While post-infection treatments like monoclonal antibodies show good results in people with mild to moderate disease, they are useless and possibly detrimental to people requiring oxygen or hospitalization.

While I’ll still love all my friends who choose not to vaccinate, I won’t stop speaking out in support of vaccines. Because I love my friends. And a vaccine could save their or their loved one’s life.