ALTHOUGH the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 was declared by the World Health Organization about more than two and a half years ago, issues on how this deadly virus should be addressed or managed continue to divide the people. Even the simple observance of health protocols such as the wearing of face masks to the more serious decision of vaccination become wrapped in controversy that continue to be favourite topics, especially on social media where fake news germinate and spread seemingly uncontrolled.
An interesting issue came about some months ago on whether or not death from COVID-19 vaccine is covered under life insurance policies. This became a serious topic after a video circulated online purportedly by America’s Frontline Doctors claiming that in France, there was a wealthy businessman who took out a life insurance. Soon after, he took the COVID-19 vaccine and died. The insurance company did not pay the heirs because it claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine is a medical experiment and death from a medical experiment is not a covered entity. When the case was brought to court, the judge upheld the claim of the insurance company and added that the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are well known and had been made public and there was absolutely no way that the insured could not have known about the side effects and yet he willingly chose to get the vaccine and died as a result. Because it was a choice, they called it a suicide. Suicide and death from experimental drugs are not covered by life insurance. The video also stated that, even in the United States, the American Council of Life Insurers declared that life insurance policies may deny payment if the insured dies of the COVID-19 vaccine because they are experimental drugs.
However, this video, which is widely spread on social media until now, was fact-checked by Reuters and came out with findings that there was no such case on record and that the French Ministry of Justice had no knowledge of the alleged claim that a French court supported the decision of insurance companies’ refusal to pay out life insurance due to death following a COVID-19 vaccine. Furthermore, the American Council of Life Insurers also issued a disclaimer and branded the report that a policy-holder’s decision to receive or not receive a vaccine for COVID-19 is not a cause for the denial of a claim.
Note that the issue is about death resulting from vaccination. It is not about death from the COVID-19 virus. But the video which went viral on social media boosted the position against vaccination. In fact, a famous tennis star, Novak Djokovic, does not want to be vaccinated because what he does to his body is personal. He recently won the Wimbledon Open Tennis championship, which is his 21st Grand Slam win and should he join and win the forthcoming U.S. Open, he would equal the record of Rafael Nadal who holds the record of winning the most Grand Slams in men’s professional tennis. Considering, however, that the U.S. Tennis Council, which conducts the event requires all competitors to be vaccinated, Djokovic declared that he will not participate.
It will be recalled that Djokovic was not allowed to join the Australian Open and was even deported upon his arrival in Australia because of the strict requirement that arriving passengers in Australia must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination, but he did not have one. However, Djokovic was allowed to play in Wimbledon because its organizers waived the vaccination requirement to allow Djokovic to defend his title, and he did.
It would appear that on the issue of vaccination, it is really a personal decision. But this personal decision can place one’s conviction or principle in conflict with the common good or the health and safety of the community or country that seeks to defeat COVID-19. Then there is also the continuous clash between science and economy in addressing the crisis brought about by this deadly virus.
In Geneva, Barcelona and California where we have been in various months during the pandemic, face masks and other health protocols have been relaxed although we’ve noticed that the people have learned to observe these protocols even without any monitoring or supervision. The administration of COVID-19 vaccines are optional but continues to be required for travel and in sports and other activities.