My Turn: Another way incentivize vaccination

As reported in the West Hawaii Today article on Sept. 3, “Big Island reports 131 new COVID cases, 1 additional coronavirus-related death,” we have no ICU beds available. With free vaccinations having been available for months, how are those of us who have complied with the mandates, the requests of politicians and the recommendations of all the scientists and doctors to get vaccinated, supposed to accept it if one of our loved ones is in a car crash and is unable to get treatment due to selfish non-vaxxers taking up nearly all the space in the hospitals across the state?

The other day, I was in Costco and I saw a tourist with his mask under his chin while he talked on the phone. Another girl would pull her mask away from her face in order to talk to her friend. I’m always seeing people going around with their masks under their noses, doing nothing to protect themselves or others.

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We’re always hearing about how people are fatigued with the masks and other requirements. Well, personally, I am flat out fed up with people flaunting their defiance of what is proven necessary to protect us all and is the only way to end this pandemic. When I saw that guy in Costco, I felt as if he was giving me and everyone else the finger, telling us how he doesn’t give a damn about anyone but himself. It makes me so furious that I’m unable to approach someone with tact and ask them to wear their mask properly.

I appreciate the handwringing of officials wondering how to get people to get vaccinated, wear masks and social distance. But let me reiterate: I am sick and tired of those of my fellow humans who believe they have the inalienable right to risk making the rest of us sick as if they are being unfairly put upon to wear a mask or take a lifesaving vaccine that most of the world is literally dying to get while they could have for it for free.

I think it’s time to stop being so polite and understanding of these unbelievably selfish scofflaws with a simple way to incentivize vaccinations.

Make it a widely publicized policy that hospital priority will be given to vaccinated individuals. The selfishness of those who choose to endanger the rest of us by refusing to get one of the free and available vaccines should not be allowed to further harm the rest of us who have followed the science and recommendations of the medical community. It’s an outrage that a vaccinated individual who gets hit by a drunken driver could be unable to receive the best possible care because stupid, selfish anti-vaxxers are overburdening our health care system.

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The hospitals should get together and, with state backing, put out a notice that as of a date certain, only vaccinated individuals will be admitted for COVID or any other medical need until hospital occupancy is back to normal. If you’re not vaccinated, you go to the back of the line. What is unfair about that?

Aaron Jacobs is a resident of Kalaoa.