Letters to the Editor: April 4, 2021

Valid and important points made

Brian McCarty’s letter pointing out the absurdity of requiring a 72-hour negative COVID-19 test for returning residents who are already fully vaccinated raises valid and important broader points.

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Aside from the fact that the quick antibody screening upon arrival should be more than adequate (and probably unnecessary) protection for the Big Island for returning travelers with a CDC vaccine card, the failure to recognize the value and importance of vaccination for travel purposes can only serve to undermine efforts to encourage the remaining public to get the vaccine as soon as available.

I understand that epidemiologists try to be armchair psychologists to understand group human behavior and predict disease spread, but their strategy of telling everybody — vaccinated or not — to avoid what they call “unnecessary” travel for fear that otherwise everyone will ignore their advice is misguided and actually weakens their efforts to get more people vaccinated. Indeed, the CDC and other infection specialists being interviewed on radio and TV do a great disservice by telling vaccinated people they must continue to observe the same precautions as the general unvaccinated public. This plays into the hands of right-wing politicians who oppose anything like a “vaccine passport” and emboldens the anti-vaxxers in general. Most importantly, it plays into the fears of nervous people worried about risks versus benefits of getting vaccinated — and I, like all of my family and friends in my senior age group can assure them there were no significant adverse effects from getting the two shots.

I give the public lots more credit and believe they could grasp the difference between being vaccinated and not and firmly believe slightly relaxing travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people will greatly smooth the path to normalcy with a not-incidental benefit of boosting our local hospitality industry by encouraging even more healthy vacationers to visit. Please, Gov. David Ige, Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth and the directors of state and county public health, at the very least change the next Emergency Proclamations to recognize that a 72-hour advance test for travel is not required if you have your vaccine card.

Arne Werchick

Kona

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Freedom of movement

Imagine if the state of Illinois was so paranoid of COVID-19 that it closed all its borders and made all entry subject to a vaccine passport. Border stops would be in place at all interstate highways, state highways, and secondary roads, and at all airports. Most minor roads and farm roads would be closed. And finally, a border fence of approximately 1,000 miles would be in place.

Of course this all sounds ludicrous, but this is exactly what the state of Hawaii is proposing. A vaccine passport to limit the free movement of U.S. citizens from state to state. Hawaii is unique to the other 50 states in that all borders funnel solely through airports. However, just because a Soviet-style “show me your papers” system is easy to implement in Hawaii, does not make it right. Does not make it pono, Wake up good people of Hawaii. Stand up before its too late. Free and unhindered movement from state to state is a Right worth standing up for.

Regarding vaccines, do what you think is right for yourself, but don’t support a Soviet-style rule over all citizens. Everyone should have medical freedom and bodily autonomy.

Dan Lanterman

Kona

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Letters policy

Letters to the editor should be 300 words or less and will be edited for style and grammar. Longer viewpoint guest columns may not exceed 800 words. Submit online at www.westhawaiitoday.com/?p=118321 or via email to letters@westhawaiitoday.com.