Make vaccines mandatory for those working with seniors

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To the Editor:

This letter was sent to the West Tisbury select board.

The presence of unvaccinated staff at the Council on Aging constitutes a breach of trust, not only with seniors, but with all the town’s citizens. After this dismal year, with over 600,000 deaths and counting, survivors dealing with long-term disabilities, and the Delta variant on the move, it is unconscionable to not take every possible precaution with the public’s well-being. Fortunately, the Mass General Brigham hospital group has set the example by requiring all of its employees to be vaccinated.
For those who argue that the vaccine was rushed, it was because it is a development of the original, effective, SARS vaccine developed a number of years ago, and thus testing could be streamlined. For those who claim “spiritual” reservations, narcissism does not equal spirituality! Spirituality only exists in relationship: Ior every “I”, there needs to be a “thou.” Otherwise it’s just self-indulgence. Those claiming individual rights, those only exist in community. One only has rights if others do as well. You’re “special” because we are all “special.” And the right to a safe, healthy community trumps personal reservations.
I sincerely hope that you mandate vaccinations for all public employees, just as the hospital has done. This is no different from requiring a SORI/CORI check for those working with children or vulnerable adults, no different from requiring a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle, no different from a physical exam for certain occupations. It simply should be a requirement for employment for anyone whose salary is paid for by the taxpayers. 

Thank you for your serious attention to this matter.

Catherine Minkiewicz
West Tisbury