Gratitude – health and the vaccine!

Last week I blogged about finishing my book: Time of the Virus, all bar the shouting and final editing, that is. Fingers crossed that plans to move out of lockdown can go ahead – given new fears about the Indian variant. Bolton is in the news – a hot spot for this new fear, with a high proportion of Asian residents. It seems that some members of the Asian population are not coming forward for their vaccinations. Why not? Do these people really fear the vaccine more than the effects of the virus? Are their reasons religious ones? But how vulnerable does that leave others? Surely until everyone is safe – nobody is safe from this threat of nature.

Which invites philosophically-based questions: if vaccination is the way for us all to be safe, then should, or can, vaccination for every citizen be personal choice – or a national requirement? Further: on the basis that the NHS is free at the point of need, yet stretched almost beyond capacity by this virus, shouldn’t self-responsibility for personal health be at the top of everyone’s agenda? A third question: if a person chooses not to be vaccinated, then becomes infected, should precious NHS resources then be made available to that person?

Difficult questions, aren’t they? I believe that for something as globally important as this, that affects us all – vaccination should be compulsory. Yet, I realise it is an uncomfortable thought for me – one that many may disagree with. Thankfully it is only a thought. Vaccination remains a personal choice. Nevertheless I am grateful for my second dose of vaccine.

I am grateful also for my health – having just read an email that has made me feel quite emotional and tearful. Someone I know has had a plant sale outside his own house and raised over £700 for charity. This man’s wife has early onset Alzheimer’s: in her early sixties. How difficult must it be to live with this cruel disease, and how must it affect not just the person with it – but the carer too! I cannot imagine losing my mind- my memory – everything that defines me as a thinking person.

My forthcoming book: Time of the Virus’ reflects my own memoirs, thoughts, opinions, hopes and dreams – and yet, the book is about all of us because we are connected by this virus. It is about the world and what has been happening throughout this pandemic. Is it also about what makes us human in the first place? What defines humanity from the animal kingdom? My book raises questions about us as human beings – where we have been, where we are now, and where we need to go, once this virus has been sent packing. My book will ask some big questions. Can we answer them?

Sylvia Edwards

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