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Clayton Parr: War on pandemic has been undermined by anti-vaccination movement

The consequences of self-serving attitudes have been suffering and death.

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This nation has been at war since March, 2020. The enemy is an insidious virus that attacks randomly amongst all the citizenry inflicting suffering, disruption and death wherever it strikes.

In response, our medical experts and institutions, after an initial shakeout period, provided clear guidance as to how to fight back. The devastation could not be escaped completely but could be reduced significantly if everyone avoided crowds, wore face coverings and maintained what came to be known as social distancing when among others.

Although face-masking was a simple procedure designed primarily to protect others such as friends, family and fellow citizens, large numbers of people refused to wear them for selfish reasons. Many found the masks to be undignified and inconvenient and some simply rebelled at the idea of being told what to do.

It is not possible to provide exact numbers, but as a consequence of these self-serving attitudes, a large portion of the millions of severe illnesses and hundreds of thousands of agonizing deaths that occurred in this country, the United States of America, were avoidable.

But finally, victory. After a massive government-supported effort, protective vaccines became available in the early months of 2021. If a large enough portion of the citizens of the United States were vaccinated, the virus would not be eliminated but would be subdued to the point that its effects would become negligible.

Due to its critical importance to the war effort, vaccination could even be considered to be a form of civic duty. But, in what can only be described as a tragic twist of fate, millions of people have either refused or not made the necessary effort to become vaccinated.

Continuing the analogy, the enemy, armed with the new delta variant, has been able to launch a counter attack (similar to the Battle of the Bulge in World War II) focused on the unvaccinated, with the result that many more needless illnesses, deaths, and disruptions are occurring.

The whys of this deeply troubling turn of events are complex, but many of those who have not been vaccinated have what can be described as plausible reasons based upon health conditions or lack of convenient access. Others have simply been indifferent or hesitant because of fears of reactions. Such attitudes are not commendable, but are at least understandable.

The shocking part is that many refuse vaccination because of misinformation spread by those whose motivations are at least questionable and at most hostile to what I would call the war effort. There has actually been an impactful campaign by certain individuals and institutions, enhanced by social media distribution, encouraging fellow citizens not to be vaccinated.

The resistance has become political with many opposed just because others of a political party they dislike support the effort. This attitude culminated with derisive cheers by attendees at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference at the news that the percentage vaccination goal set by the current administration had not been achieved.

These types of irresponsible actions by so many of our fellow citizens purposely to frustrate sound medical procedures to win this terrible war confounds those of us who are committed to taking the necessary actions.

It is more than being perplexed. We furrow our brows and clench our teeth in painful frustration as we read and hear of the efforts to undermine what I would call the war effort.

Who are these people? Where would Utah be, we ask, if everyone had rejected vaccination as these contrarian voices seem to advocate?

Clayton Parr

Clayton Parr is a retired natural resources attorney living in Draper.

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