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Letters for Sunday, August 22, 2021

Forcing vaccines on workers may be unconstitutional

In my humble opinion, the decision to vaccinate or not should remain voluntary and made by the individual who will be affected.

I was dismayed to read the article regarding the policy of Gov. Ige and Mayor Kawakami to require that all state workers be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Thankfully, they are allowing medical and religious exemptions, but what about those who may not fall into that category? Do those employees get a choice, or has it suddenly become the duty of politicians to make medical decisions for their staff?

I’m sure that our elected leaders are aware that people are also dying from the vaccine.

• There have been over 12,000 deaths so far, and that is a low estimate;

• At least one-third, or approximately 118,000 of all vaccinated individuals, have had at least one adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine;

• The highest adverse reaction to the vaccine was death, according to the CDC’s own VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System) website. This is a modest number, since most cases are never reported.

To my knowledge, the FDA has still not approved the vaccine, and as recently as June 25, 2021, issued a warning of the risks of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart) following vaccination. This usually happens with the second dose and among the young and healthy with strong immune systems. Are our leaders going to take responsibility for those who suffer adverse effects? And even if they do, will that compensate for the loss of life or health?

Can we all agree that there are risks and deaths on both sides? We should allow Americans to decide which risk they prefer. I believe that our elected leaders who are using their voices and positions to force vaccines on their employees are violating the Bill of Rights and abusing their power.


Teresa Pennington, Kalaheo

State should reinstate Safe Travels program

The Garden Island reported 1,013 total (cumulative) cases of COVID on Aug. 20. We are daily seeing double-digit new numbers.

I totally agree with Hawai‘i Mayor Mitch Roth that it is time to reinstate the Safe Travels program. We know there are people traveling with forged vaccination cards. The only way to stop this is to return to the testing program for mainland and inter-island travel.

I know firsthand how annoying it is to have to stand in line to wait to get approved. It’s not fun. However, the fact that Queen’s Hospital is at capacity for ICU beds should be a warning. It can happen here.

Mayor Kawakami, your swift actions early on helped keep us safe. Please join with Mayor Roth to request reinstatement of Safe Travels. I also urge the other mayors to join.


Donna Gould Carsten, Kapa’a

Little difference between blue and red states in COVID rates

We spent some time in Idaho last winter and were shocked to see all the businesses open, with no masks and little social distancing. Do you think people died like flies? In fact, Idaho has a 0.13% death rate from COVID-19, which is well below the national average of 0.19%. Idaho practiced business as usual, yet 40 other states had higher COVID-19 death rates.

Party politics have made very little difference. The 10 most-Republican states (Cook Voting Index) averaged 0.17% deaths per capita. The 10 most-Democratic states averaged 0.18% deaths. It is essentially a tie.

Hawai‘i has the lowest rate of COVID-19 deaths, 0.04%. Hawai‘i is a rare place where you can be comfortable all year with the windows and doors open. Most COVID-19 transmissions happen indoors without ventilation.

Idaho is much like Hawai‘i. It has a small population, many outdoor activities, and below-average rates of obesity. But Idaho gets cold, so the windows are closed. If Hawai‘i had been free like Idaho, except with open windows and more vitamin D, we would probably have had a much lower death rate than Idaho. This is about the same as what happened here anyway, after all the restrictions.

Most Democratic states have had more-severe restrictions on businesses during COVID-19, causing around 200,000 business failures. After all this hardship and loss, those states averaged the same COVID-19 deaths as the Republican states.

I am glad that states were able to try different strategies. But knowing the results should help us to make better decisions now.

It is also important to note that governors and mayors do not have the legal authority to make laws. Lawmaking is the role of legislatures and county councils. Any self-proclaimed emergency rules should only be valid until the legislature has time to consider the questions at hand. This separation of powers is our key to preventing dictatorships and tyranny.

Mark Beeksma, Koloa
Source: The Garden Island

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