Vaccinations and Free Healthcare

So far, so good. The side effects from the vaccination which I was so concerned about yesterday never appeared, and apart from quite a sore arm, I currently feel perfectly fine. In the end, it was just a case of trundling along to my local vaccination centre and trundling back.

Today, though, I’d just like to draw everyone’s attention to something. On my way out of the centre last night, I made a point of thanking the staff there for doing such a wonderful job. This pandemic has really put how much we owe the NHS into perspective. This morning, however, I heard on the news that Australia is thinking about charging people who refuse to get vaccinated for their COVID-related healthcare. The Aussies have a system like the NHS, but the right to free healthcare will be suspended for anyone refusing to get jabbed.

This policy is obviously very controversial. The whole point of free, universal healthcare is that anyone has a right to it, irrespective of your status or ability to pay: surely that is one of the defining features of any modern, civilised society. Yet, to be honest, I can see their point. The only way we’ll ever get through this pandemic is if we all pull together and get vaccinated; if just one person refuses, it puts everyone else at risk as the virus might then mutate. We don’t just get jabbed to protect ourselves but all of society.

Refusing the vaccine thus potentially puts a strain on any healthcare system as it risks prolonging the pandemic, so I can see what the Australians are getting at. Indeed, part of me might even advocate implementing such a policy here. The NHS is one of the UK’s greatest features: to knowingly and wantonly put a strain on it by refusing to get vaccinated does a disservice to us all. Why should such selfish people have a right to free healthcare if and when they fall ill? Then again, the same could be said of smokers or people with other bad habits: Should knowingly doing something dangerous invalidate your right to free healthcare? Going down that route would open up a minefield of questions which would ultimately render the idea of free, universal healthcare moot. The idea of systems like the NHS is that everyone should get the medical help they need, absolutely no questions asked. The second we start playing around with that concept, we are all doomed.

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