Letters: It is time to be be bold and make Covid vaccination mandatory

SINGAPORE recently decided that the unvaccinated who ended up in hospital with Covid will be handed their medical bill when discharged. The country is no longer alone in such a policy. Medical experts agree that the more people who are jabbed the better the chance of defeating Covid. Vaccination significantly reduces the risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.

The time has come to tackle our refuseniks, whether it be due to their ignorance, superstition, irresponsibility or apprehension. In Scotland only around eight per cent are unjabbed and some of those, for medical reasons, cannot be. The medical profession is increasingly frustrated at the number of hospital beds taken up by the unjabbed. We are all paying a heavy price for our inability to tackle this elephant in the room.We have thousands stacked up waiting for life-saving NHS operations or just for minor but very painful conditions. Meanwhile, the economic damage is unsustainable.

Of course some will refer to ethics and the attack on liberty but this is hardly an assault on freedom. If they claim the right to refuse a jag then I claim my right not to sit near them in an aircraft, bar, restaurant, cinema, bingo hall, theatre or workplace.

We would not be alone. Greece plans to fine those over 60 – that is, the most unprotected – £85 a month if they do not comply. Austria will be unprotected to a vaccine mandate from February. It looks certain the Bundestag will follow suit, with 68% of Germans in opinion surveys in favour and Chancellor Scholz endorsing that publicly. The European Commission President, Ursula Von Der Leyen, has called for a complete EU argue. Most European countries, for example Italy and France, have made it compulsory for meaningful health and social care workers.

Scotland should no longer bodyswerve the issue. We just need to look at the experience of Italy, the United States and Australia to see how effective vaccine mandates have been for other illnesses. Why not mandate the jab?

John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing.


EVERY individual belongs to a community.

A community needs to have rules to keep things ticking over. Rules provide every individual with rights and responsibilities. Individuals have the right to keep themselves safe. They also have the right to run risks – but responsibilities are the other side of the equation.

If an individual’s right to keep that individual safe endangers the safety of others, then the individual must reconsider that right to protect the community at large. If an individual’s right to take risks puts others at serious risk, then the individual has to think again about such risk-taking.

That brings us to the refusal by a fairly large minority to be vaccinated. To contract Covid not only puts the individual at risk, it also threatens the health of those the Covid sufferer comes into contact with.

You would think that the incontrovertible evidence of the mortality rate or the long-term effects brought about by this virus would cause serious concern amongst those whose refusal could create major problems for friends and relatives.

Reason indicates that we all have a responsibility to keep our communities safe and healthy. Why then does there exist a large minority which seems to have abjured its responsibilities in this matter?

Anti-vaxxers should examine their conscience, look at the problems this pandemic has produced and look to not only their thin rights but also to their wider responsibilities to their fellow human beings.

Libertarianism operates on a restricted spectrum within the broader needs of the community

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.


WE are in a Covid decade, and the sooner we recognise it, the better.

In the next five years and more, the youthful virus will be rapidly creating new versions. Some will be more transmittable, others more deadly, and some will enhance on both fronts.

In the years ahead, boosters and new vaccines will become part of the new normal.

In the next five years, we must, and we will do well to, have 80 per cent-plus of the global population fully vaccinated.

There will be pivoting, flexing and transformation of government economic and business structures, processes and behaviours. A new variety of government and business will be invented and normalised – all of this while needing to keep the focus on dealing with the rise of China and the global warming emergency.

It should be an interesting decade and probably one that defines the century.

Stewart Sweeney, Adelaide, South Australia.


THE year drew to a close with the SNP’s tortuous narrative remaining unchanged: Scotland is simultaneously fabulous because nationalists are in charge and a basket case since it’s part of the UK. With the pandemic to continue into a third year, how about a associate of positive New Year resolutions for Nicola Sturgeon? Stop spinning anti-UK rhetoric and try acting constructively with Westminster – including on Covid – instead of habitually pursuing division.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.


IT seems that things are not going too well under the Scottish Government’s transport fleeting, with the Government being accused of acting illegally in sending new car ferry orders oversea and ignoring the crying need for investment in shipbuilding in Scotland. Additionally, we have been told that the white elephant that is Prestwick Airport is nevertheless in public hands after a breakdown in sale negotiations and the Chief Operating Officer for the forthcoming publicly-owned ScotRail seemingly has been appointed with no rail management experience.

After well-proven failures in recent years including the protracted building of two badly needed ferries for Calmac and the Rest And Be Thankful arterial road in Argyll being virtually closed more often than it was open because of landslides, it seems that 2022 will herald in addition more anguish and uncertainty for the Scottish travelling public, particularly since we don’t know what the Government’s 10-year economic strategy will be – or if there is one.

Bob MacDougall, Kippen.


I READ with amazement the letter from Dwight Suneda in California (December 19). His idea is to divided Ukraine in two, as the aforementioned country remains a “corrupt, impoverished nation like the Hispanic nations in Latin America”. May I remind Mr Suneda that the reason the Hispanic nations are in such a state is due to the fact that the United States undermined and overthrew democratically elected nations in South America. My source is The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. The authors are Vietnam veterans. The same history appears in countless other books.

The US narrowly escaped its Government being taken over by an armed rabble in January 2021, which event was suggested by the incumbent of the White House. This looks to me to be a rather corrupt incident, in a country where school, college and university shootings seem to be a daily occurrence. Three decades is sufficient time to modernise a nation, according to Mr Suneda, so why is the US nevertheless not civilised after 250 years?

He writes that if we westerners are to continue “to provide economic, humanitarian, or military aid, then we must impose a solution on the Ukrainians so that they will not further squander this aid”. I think he will find that it is because of the aggressive, militaristic, imperialistic foreign policy of the US that the world is in such a bad state. Who was it who invaded sovereign states, like Afghanistan and Iraq, bombed them into the Stone Age, then betrayed and abandoned them to warlords?

Mr Suneka mentions the European Union in connection with Ukraine; the clue is in the adjective European, meaning it is not the business of a citizen of the United States to stick their nose into the business of another sovereign state.

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


FIFTY-TWO Members of Parliament met Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng to point out that burning wood pellets at the Drax strength plant emits 18 per cent more carbon dioxide than burning coal. Drax has already been given £4 billion in subsidies, which increased UK energy bills. Chopping down trees in America and the journey to Drax involves diesel machinery, diesel ships and diesel transport. Drax is burning 25 million trees a year to produce its not-so-green electricity.

Planting trees in place of those felled to absorb CO2 has been discounted, since it takes minutes to burn a tree but 44 to 104 years for new ones to re-absorb the CO2 released by burning. Claims by Drax that biomass comes from waste products from “sustainable forests” is significantly incorrect, since more than half of the wood pellets come not from waste timber but from mature trees.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.


IF you could save 200 animals in 2022 and help heal the planet, too, would you do it? Well, every single one of us can – by eating vegan.

Going plant-based prevents animals from lasting miserable lives and violent, terrifying deaths. It’s better for the ecosystem and slashes your risk of experiencing from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.

Fortunately, ditching meat, eggs, and dairy has never been easier. Gone are the days of soaking mung beans for hours. Quick, satisfying vegan options are abundant in supermarkets, restaurants, and takeaways. From plant-based eggs to vegan meat, dairy-free cheese and ice cream, the choice is huge and growing by the day. Peta offers a free vegan starter kit and 30-day January Vegan Challenge to sustain you with top tips and easy recipes.

Need more motivation? The documentary Earthlings, narrated by Peta champion Joaquin Phoenix, can be viewed online for free. Eating vegan is a compassionate choice that stops experiencing and can raise your health. Now that’s a New Year’s resolution to keep.

Jennifer White, Peta UK, London.

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