If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught us, it’s that Americans really don’t like being told what to do.
This has been apparent for a long time, and even before we were a nation at all. The Boston Tea Party was perhaps the most salient example of the American spirit of independence – and we weren’t even Americans yet. Since that time, we’ve only grown more fierce in our fight for individual freedom.
So, when it came to the coronavirus crisis, we weren’t going to be told to wear masks, nor were we necessarily going to cooperate with the government’s contact tracers either.
That’s what makes the latest proposal out of New York State so worrisome.
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who represents parts of Manhattan’s West Side, earlier this month introduced a bill that would require the state to “safely and effectively” distribute an FDA-approved vaccine “in accordance with the department [of health]’s COVID-19 vaccination administration program,” according to the language of the legislation.
“While steps have been taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, epidemiologists and public health experts have concluded that a vaccine will be necessary to develop herd immunity and ultimately stop the spread of the disease,” the bill’s support memo states. “[T]he State must make efforts to promote vaccination and ensure that a high enough percentage of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19 to develop sufficient immunity.”
There have been serious concerns about how many Americans would willingly receive a COVID-19 vaccine, with one poll showing that less than 60% of Americans were keen to the idea.
Experts believe that 70% or more of the population would need to receive the vaccine in order to keep the rest of us safe.