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FROSTMAN COLUMN: Say 'no' to vaccine passports, yes to medical choices

FROSTMAN COLUMN: Say 'no' to vaccine passports, yes to medical choices

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The current law governing personal medical information passed in 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as “HIPAA.”

In April 2003, the Privacy Rule of this measure went into effect. It is widely used as protection of personal medical information, simply between you and your health care providers, as our own medical information is an intensely private matter for most.

Starting in late 2020, HIPAA seemed to go out the window. Everyone’s medical treatments are suddenly fair game, subject to public scrutiny and review. Have you been vaccinated? Are you getting the COVID-19 vaccine? When are you getting it? Which one are you getting? Why aren’t you getting the COVID vaccine? Don’t you care about the “greater good?”

These questions now pepper our everyday life, and are subjected to the court of public opinion. Thousands will frame their social media profiles with the “I got mine” in reference to the vaccine, or proudly boast they are fully vaccinated. Those who choose to share their own private medical information have the option to do so, but I’d rather not know what recent medical procedures you’ve undergone.

Most social shaming is directed at those who are choosing not to be vaccinated. Cries of selfishness and ignorance fly around with abandon. How dare anyone not listed to the ever-changing narrative of Dr. Anthony Fauci and company on what we are now “allowed” to do, or not do.

Here’s the deal. You, as an adult, have the opportunity and responsibility to make an informed choice in concert with health care professionals in whom you place your own care. You are welcome to choose to be vaccinated, and no one should begrudge you that choice. If you feel you are making the best informed choice for your own care, and have sought to be informed on all fronts, by all means, make that choice. Many have gotten the shot without any apparent ill affects to date.

You also can make the sincere, conscientious choice to not be vaccinated for COVID. This is not about being “anti-vaccine.” This is about having the choice for medical freedom to choose which procedures you will undergo, and when you choose to simply say “no.” Your choice. Millions of Americans are skeptical of the efficacy and still-emerging data about both short-term and long-term side effects, or are simply saying “no” for other personal reasons, and those making that choice should be respected. No one is out to harm another person, or knowingly spreading the virus.

This leads into the questions about vaccine “passports,” and whether those not vaccinated can be barred from participating in many of life’s daily routines, like flying, going to sporting events, working out at their local gym, and so on. Stories are springing up across the nation of venues catering exclusively to those who have been vaccinated. Are we then creating a segregated society, where those who choose not to be vaccinated are treated like pariahs, shunned from participation in society? That’s a very dangerous step, and contrary to our free society.

A number of states have been proactive in declaring vaccine “passports” have no place in their states. Other states, including Wisconsin, are considering measures to stop any type of statewide vaccine “passports,” but I would anticipate any such common sense measure dying at the veto pen of Gov. Tony Evers.

Time and again, with the striking down of the statewide mask mandate, the Safer at Home restrictions, and most recently, state rules to limit capacity, Gov. Evers has been turned away when he has continually usurped his authority. Despite these continual setbacks, Evers appears to be doubling down whenever possible on greater government control of our everyday lives, and the decisions we make.

Gov. Evers once again showed his hubris in his vetoing of Assembly Bill 23/Senate Bill 4, see https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/related/proposals/ab23, which would prohibit the Department of Health Services “from isolating or quarantining an individual unwilling or unable to be vaccinated.” We have seen local health officials overstep their authority time and again this past year. As stated earlier, you should have the freedom to make your own medical decisions.

Evers also vetoed Assembly Bill 24/Senate Bill 7, see https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2021/related/proposals/ab24, which would “prohibit local health officials from closing or forbidding gatherings in places of worship.” This is a direct assault on the First Amendment’s protection of one’s own freedom to practice their faith as they see fit. Those who attend churches should be free to make their own decisions within their own church body about limitations or protocols.

Opinions and your decisions about vaccinations, lockdowns, restrictions, masks, and all the rest evoke very strong and visceral reactions across the spectrum. Make certain yours is an informed and empowered choice.

Scott Frostman lives in Baraboo, and has roots throughout Wisconsin. Opinions herein are exclusively his own. He believes anyone can make a difference and can be reached at scfrostman@gmail.com.

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