Letter to the Editor:

Like the vast majority of physicians, I wish that every eligible person would receive the COVID vaccine. But I do not think government should impose mandates on citizens to receive the shots.

One of the four pillars of bioethics is autonomy — the others being beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice.

The COVID virus is a disease of the unvaccinated. I lost two friends to COVID, both dying before the vaccines were available. No acquaintance of ours has died or had a serious reaction to the vaccine. This basically reflects our national statistics.

Unfortunately, there has been an unending flow of misinformation concerning the vaccines on the Internet and other venues. This has led many people to fear getting the shots because of supposed dangers and complications of the vaccinations.

To be sure, many drugs and treatments have potential side effects. Some people have life-threatening reactions to penicillin, aspirin and cholesterol-lowering drugs. But as a whole, these medications save lives.

So how much pressure should society put on citizens to get vaccinated? Schools, businesses and other entities need to make these judgment calls. We are seeking the common good when we are united in efforts to control this virus.

Warren Anderson