We must focus on the good of the whole community

We need to rethink the idea of emphasizing the rights of individuals over the whole.

In a democratic society, we value those that take some personal risk for the greater collective. Whether a person accepts the risks of serving in the military, working as a firefighter or is employed in the healthcare field, we all accept risks to our own well-being for the protection and betterment of the community as a whole. We need to rethink this idea of a society that emphasizes the rights of the individual over one that focuses on the whole if we are to have any viable future. A society of “individuals” is antithetical in principle. The island I know and treasure is a place that cares about our neighbors and our community, lends a helping hand when needed and strives for a healthy environment.

With all the talk about risks and benefits of vaccinations, it seems that we are missing the discussion of what choosing to vaccinate says in support of our society or our local communities. I read about people wanting to make “choices that are right for them,” but not admitting the effect that their individual choices have on those around them. Many of our vaccines are made effective by the development of “herd immunity,” and it is only by participating in the herd that we can protect the whole. Each individual needs to take a miniscule risk to help protect the whole.

Let us strive for the health of our society and our community. I believe Vashon has the ability to lead the way through this current quagmire.

— Andrew C. Peet, MD

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