Letters to the Editor: Vaccine mandates work, even for tantrum-throwing Canadian truckers

Canadian truck protestor standing in rain.
A demonstrator gestures as he stands before trucks during a protest by truck drivers over pandemic health rules in Ottawa, Canada, on Feb. 11.
(Ed Jones / AFP)

To the editor: Columnist Jonah Goldberg parrots the typical Republican’s COVID-19 vaccine stance when he says he personally is all for the vaccine, but there’s no sense mandating it where only 20% remain unvaccinated. (“American reactions to Canada’s trucker protests shows how much our politics have changed,” Opinion, Feb. 15)

Memo to Goldberg: Achieving herd immunity from COVID-19 may require at least a 90% vaccination rate, along with periodic booster shots for years to come.

History provides a compelling example of how vaccine mandates help attain herd immunity.


In 1979, after suffering periodic measles outbreaks in schools despite having a childhood vaccine mandate, Mississippi, with the nation’s most religious populace, rescinded religious exemptions. As a result, the schoolkids’ vaccination rate vaulted to more than 99%, thereby preventing measles outbreaks.

That helps explain why residents of red states, with higher percentages of anti-vaxxers than blue states, are far more likely to suffer COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. Plain and simple, vaccine mandates work.

Edward Alston, Santa Maria


To the editor: Goldberg has ample cause to contend that “neither side is right” in the raging culture war generally, and Canada’s trucker protests in particular. But his criticism of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau falls flat.

Goldberg chastises Trudeau for citing a “smattering of ugly flags” among the protesting truckers as a guilt-by-association ploy. Au contraire. Any protest group that allows even a single Confederate banner should be denounced for abiding such an abject racist symbol, one that progressives would never allow in their demonstrations.

Sure, displaying Black Lives Matter signs in protests that have no significant connection to racial issues may be a progressive overreach, though relatively innocuous. But protesters who abide hoisting the Confederate flag betray their indulgence of a vile, visible racist symbol.

Roberta Helms, Santa Barbara


To the editor: “If I were to describe these protests to a left-winger 50 — or 150 — years ago, they would sound great,” Goldberg writes. “Proletarian laborers spontaneously using their class-power to monkey-wrench the wheels of global capitalism to press their grievances!”

Not quite. The earlier protests were against inhumane living and working conditions, not whining about wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.

Frank Hochfeld, Albany, Calif.