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  • Reverend James Squire

Word from England

Updated: Feb 13, 2021

Photo by Simon Frederick

Vicki and I facetimed this morning with Roger and Margaret Harwood, dear friends in England. Margaret is a retired school teacher and Roger is the retired Chief Architect of the Church of England. They live in Aylesbury which is outside of Oxford. We met them as we exchanged houses and cars with them some years ago and have kept in touch.

The US has a very important bioethics decision to make soon. Should we vaccinate as many as possible now and worry about the second shot later or should we stay the course as it is presently stated in our vaccine policy to save the vaccine for the second shot later.

We can learn some important lessons from what is occurring in England regarding vaccine distribution and the negative consequences of the insurrection for stability in the rest of the world.

The authorities in England have decided to get as many people vaccinated now as possible for they have a greater threat than we have at the moment. Their decision makes sense to them. One of their daughters is an administrator at a hospital in Oxford who points out that some of these vaccines have a shelf life. Use it or lose it. Their decisions are also based in the fact that their leader, Boris Johnson, almost died from the Covid-19 virus. That has shaped a lot of his thinking. He knows the risk first hand. Their decision is based on risk/cost/benefit analysis. Our decision should be based in that risk model as well. The risk now or the risk of not getting the vaccine later. England is also developing a plan to get the vaccine into the arms of third world nations.

There is a bioethics model that emphasizes short term decisions weighed against long term ones and the consequences of each. England has chosen the short-term consequences as weighing more than long term considerations.

We shall see what our leaders decide and why. I have not seen anything addressing this yet from two of my mentors, Dr. Dom Sisti at the Penn Center for Bioethics or Dr. Arthur Caplan, once at Penn but now Head at the New York University Center for Bioethics.

Our friends indicated that there are consequences in addition to what will happen in our nation as we move forward. They and others like them in England and the EU are scared of Trump’s actions for he has emboldened others of the political right across Europe. He has given permission for others to follow. The US has always been the model for democracy. I believe, for that reason, he should be removed from office as soon as possible. He is not only a threat to our nation but to people across the globe.

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