Health care workers protest mandatory vaccinations outside the New York...

Health care workers protest mandatory vaccinations outside the New York State Office Building in Hauppauge in August. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

As a retired nurse, I am truly disappointed in health care professionals who refuse to get vaccinated ["2 LI nurses sue over mandate to be inoculated," News, Sept. 4]. We all took a pledge that elevated our responsibility to those we treat. The concept of "my body, my choice" takes second place to "first, do no harm." If you could transmit tuberculosis, do you have the right to expose your patients? Of course not. I fully support the mandate requiring vaccination for those in a clinical setting. Teachers, police and Emergency Medical Services workers are equally responsible to protect others. You chose these professions. Act accordingly.

— Mary Negra, East Setauket

Nurses who do not accept the importance of vaccinations for their own health and the protection of their patients’ health do not recognize basic professional standards and should not be allowed to practice clinical nursing. Administrative remedies (dismissal or leave without pay) are available.

— Dr. Peter Rogatz, Port Washington

The writer is a former executive director of Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

I’m amazed at the lawsuit by the two Catholic nurses, claiming their "religious freedom" provided in the First Amendment excludes them from a COVID-19 vaccination. Really? The pope has urged Catholics to get vaccinated. Where in Catholic doctrine do these nurses get the idea that their "religious freedom" is being stepped on? Even other Catholic official leaders have spoken out, agreeing that people should get vaccinated. It’s not a suggestion. 

Thanks to people like these who refuse the vaccine, we still need to wear masks as the delta variant keeps spreading.

— Bart Taylor, Freeport

A reader stated that she has the "right to refuse medical treatment without repercussion" in defending those who do not take the COVID-19 vaccine ["Anger over the unvaccinated," Letters, Aug. 18]. All freedoms have limitations; she has the right to own a gun but not to kill others with it, and the right to free speech but not to slander others publicly. All freedoms have limitations, generally when they negatively impact or harm others. Those who refuse vaccinations by asserting their "rights"   are harming others by becoming more likely to contract the disease and spread it to others , and by increasing the likelihood the virus will mutate into vaccine-resistant forms. They are weaponizing the disease. Vaccination helped conquer diseases such as polio and smallpox. If the reader is unfortunate enough to get COVID, will she exercise her right to "refuse unwanted medical treatment"?

— Michael Golden, Great Neck

With all the controversy going on with vaccinations required for people going to restaurants and those who object to having to be vaccinated, why can’t we simply do what was done before with smoking? That is, to have two separate sections in restaurants, one for those people who can show proof of vaccinations and another section for those who can’t or don’t want to show proof. I would think that this would be a solution that most people could accept.

— Steve Yandrich, Farmingdale

I continue to read a barrage of letters condemning and ostracizing those who have decided not to get a COVID-19 vaccine ["Taking a shot at our freedom," Letters, Sept. 7]. I support those who take the vaccine, but I also support those who do not wish to inject medicine into their bloodstream. 

Getting COVID is only a possibility, not a given.

— Lawrence Harkavy, St. James

I see readers applauding higher health care costs and service fees for the unvaccinated. Again, are we going to discriminate against the unvaccinated while continuing to allow those who blatantly engage in unhealthy practices such as poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and other habits that have led to higher health care  costs? Also, can’t we allow everyone a choice? If you want to be vaccinated, do it; if you don’t, then don’t. If you’re vaccinated, why are you still afraid? Take charge of your own health and stop blaming others.

— Karen Loughlin, Massapequa

The writer was a health care worker for 32 years.

The sheer bad faith of the proud anti-vaxxers’ letters is breathtaking. One faults the government and hospitals for the shortage of hospital beds and healthcare personnel for new COVID-19 patients. No, the federal government has provided ample vaccines, which are the best weapon against many viral diseases.

An unvaccinated California teacher infected more than half of her pupils and most of their relatives. Several unvaccinated teachers have died in Florida. We cut back the spread of COVID until anti-mask, anti-vax mandate Republican governors allowed the spread of the delta variant that is hitting young adults and children.

— Arnold Wishnia, Setauket

When can we legitimately toss away our masks and be fully free to return to life as normal? We are living in a prison maintained by conservative talk show hosts. These vaccinated hypocrites continue to rail about our "right" to be selfish and ignore the greater good because their base wants to make its point against the left. The right talks about the supposed dangers of the vaccines and tells listeners to take a stand against them. Yet many are willing to allow doctors to inject them with an experimental drug after they catch the virus.

— Robert Broder, Stony Brook

"Freedom." It’s the favorite word of the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers. The "no one is going to tell me what to do" crowd. In times of war, young Americans would give up their freedom for a couple of years — some forced to do so — to protect the rest of us. At Arlington National Cemetery, you can see some who gave up all of their freedoms. Permanently.

Yes, America is all about freedom. But it is also about sacrifice. What sacrifice are these people willing to make to protect the rest of us? If wearing a piece of cloth on their faces is a burden, the answer is not a darn thing. They think they are patriots but are acting like self-centered, spoiled children who want what they want and the hell with their country and defending the people in it. Freedom without obligation is anarchy. Freedom without effort is unpatriotic.

It is un-American, and it is unworthy of this great country and those who defended it. It is unconscionable.

— Patrick Flynn, Ridge

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