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While the Covid-19 vaccine is becoming available now in Laurel County, many Americans say they will refuse the shots. I support a person’s right to choose not to be vaccinated since that choice would not affect those who get vaccinated. In other words, if I am vaccinated, an unvaccinated person will not infect me. But those unvaccinated people may greatly increase their chances of infection after more people become inoculated.

None of the pharmaceutical companies that are producing the vaccines know if the people who get vaccinated can still transmit the virus. Adding to that uncertainty is the fact that the virus is quickly mutating into a more highly transmittable disease. If it turns out that vaccinated people will be protected from the sickness but remain asymptomatic, it will put those unprotected at higher risk than ever before.

Consider the probability of lifting mask mandates and other precautions after most of the population is immunized. Fewer people will probably be tested so less will be known of who is asymptomatic. I think the estimation is about 1/3 of the population say they will not get the vaccine. So, consider 100 people in an enclosed area and 30 of those are unprotected while 70 are vaccinated. An unknown number of those 70 vaccinated people are unknowingly carrying the virus because they are not sick and have not been tested. Most importantly, they may not be wearing masks or taking precautions. I am not a statistician, but I do not think the odds are good for the 30-percentile wagering their lives on not getting infected. And if the ratio of vaccinated and unvaccinated goes from 70/30 to 80/20 the odds of infection for those unprotected persons will also increase.

Again, I support a person’s own personal judgment about the matter. But I also think it is worthy of thought before making that kind of choice.

Larry Bailey

Laurel County

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