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11 June, 2021

Rights and Responsibilities

Perhaps the most unfortunate side effect from COVID is the rise in the number conspiracy theorists and people who spread utter lies and mis-information about the virus.

By Peter McCullagh

It’s not just the “Karen’s” of the world, it’s the civil-libertarians who believe they have the right to challenge the police and defy public health warnings and laws.

This week we have seen mis-information spread in Cairns regarding the supposed deaths of hundreds of Australians due to the COVID vaccine. Where they get this information from is of concern.

Facebook is alive with comments regarding people being bullied into being vaccinated so they will eventually be allowed to travel again, a right that we all feel so passionate about. So if the anti-vaccination members amongst us feel so strongly about their right, I hope they also feel as strong about responsibilities.

Yes freedom to travel is a basic right. But going hand in hand with that right, is the responsibility to ensure you do not impinge upon others.

Yesterday Queensland recorded a fresh COVID positive case. A woman who, with her partner, had left Melbourne, driven through NSW and eventually ended up on the Sunshine Coast and accidently discovered she was COVID positive, due to a test her husband had to undertake for the purpose of gaining employment.

She has the right to travel to gain employment, but also she has a responsibility to ensure that she does not spread the virus to others around her. Imagine if she had flown - all the passengers would have been at risk, as well as their families, friends, work colleagues, and others they came in contact with though the course of their daily life.

Rights, yes, but responsibilities go hand in hand with rights.

So, if you want to decline the chance to be vaccinated with this ‘poison’, (the anti-vaccination lobby’s words, not mine) make sure you are not going to spread the virus unknowingly to unsuspecting members of the community around you.

I’m all for rights, but responsibilities are just as important. For society to flourish, we need to consider the rights of the individual, but it’s the collective that must also be considered. So please do the right thing by all of us. We need to stamp this out. The government is not bullying us into being vaccinated by threatening to stop us travelling interstate or overseas.

You won’t be allowed into any other country without proof of vaccination. Governments are doing the correct and right thing by their citizens. We need to totally eliminate COVID, or have a strategy to minimise the effects and impacts. Vaccination is the easiest, most cost effective method.

Disagree with me if you like, but if you disagree, please keep more than 1.5 metres away from me, please practice good hygiene and do me a favour, let me know that you refuse to be vaccinated so I have the equal right to walk away from you and take steps to protect myself, my family and the rest of the community.

 Peter McCullagh


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