Opinion | You Wouldn’t Swim in Shark-Infested Waters, Would You? So Stop Walking Around Unvaccinated

By: | September 17, 2021

Joanna Makomaski is a specialist in innovative enterprise risk management methods and implementation techniques. She can be reached at [email protected].

I want you to imagine this scenario: You have been stranded on a deserted sandbar with only a snorkeling mask. One hundred feet away you see a small island.

On it is sustenance — coconuts and tropical fruit. In the body of water that separates you from this island you spot killer sharks swimming.

At the end of the dune, you spot an old wooden boat with an oar. It appears sound, but you have no way of really knowing or verifying this.

Do you take a chance and swim across with just your mask? Or do you take the unproven boat across the hundred feet of water?

Both options have risk. But only one option makes risk management sense — the option that gives you the best chance at success.

Using just a snorkeling mask to swim across, you have a questionable chance of success as you thrash in the shark-filled waters for such a distance. Using the old boat is the better choice. Why? You have history and science on your side. We know in general that boats work for safe buoyant passage, and they can create something of a barrier against hungry sharks.

It is true you may spring a leak during the hundred-foot crossing, but your chances for success are still better.

First, you are closer to the island by the time the boat overfills with water.

Second, you still have your snorkeling mask to help you swim the shorter distance to shore.

Risk management is always about the balance of risk and benefits. Not the pursuit of risk elimination and perfection. Being stranded on a sandbar is not ideal for anyone. I wish it upon no one. But when people fail to take the boat when offered the chance, it just makes me sad, angry and very nervous.

This is how I see individuals who adamantly choose not to get vaccinated from the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus and the growing number of its variants.

I am perplexed by an individual who decides to not be vaccinated, because they fear unknown speculative future risk posed by a vaccine that was tested and not officially approved yet.

Our reality is that we face imminent risk of death now by COVID-19. By definition, imminent risk “is an immediate and impending threat of a person causing substantial physical injury to self or others.” Imminent risks come with certainty. And it is certain a deadly virus is in our community poised to attack and kill like hungry sharks in the water.

Why would anyone want to continue to risk their life and the lives of those around them, because they fear an uncertain and unproven risk of future adverse effects posed by the vaccine?

Personally, I am grateful that our governments responsibly circumvented some typical approval processes to expedite our chances to save ourselves. They sent us a lifeboat that was tested well enough to get us across deadly waters now.

And history has been on our side when it comes to vaccines. In that I trust.

Generations before us dutifully took greater risks taking vaccines all with the aim to annihilate horrible diseases. We have had the fortune and luxury to now live free of diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox — just to name a few.

It is now our turn to do our civic duty for next generations, or at minimum, make better risk management decisions and get vaccinated now. &

More from Risk & Insurance