The death of Giorgos Tragas, at the age of 72 – publisher, commentator, and leader of a small political party in Greece – brings to the surface once again the responsibility that public figures have not only towards themselves, but also to the society as a whole.
Tragas, who suffered from diabetes, refused until the end, according to his doctor, to be vaccinated. Let us accept that this is his right. But that he urged his followers not to be vaccinated raises the serious issue of social responsibility.
Tragas is one of the many examples of people in positions of influence that do that here and in Greece.
The question is whether what they say, such as urging their followers not to be vaccinated, is said because they believe it or for reasons of self interest.
It is clear, for example, that various media personalities, politicians, and others have adopted this line, not because they do not know what is right, but because such a populist move is the quintessential means of increasing popularity, circulation, profits, etc.
In other words, it is a conscious policy of pleasing the public with very specific, often negative, results for themselves and others. But this is nothing less than a betrayal of the people who trust them. These individuals – media figures, politicians, doctors, clergy – influence the masses, who pay for the trust they have in them with their own lives.
It is really tragic that a pandemic, for which a vaccine was discovered, instead of being a unifying point, since ‘we are all equal before the virus,’ has become a cause of division.
It has become a weapon of exploitation of people’s suspicions and the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories that prevail in large sections of society worldwide.
And it is also tragic that instead of the people doing what scientists in this field advise them to do, they listen to many of those who are irrelevant and exploiters.
The big problem is that in order for all of us to be safe from the virus and its mutations, the rest need to get vaccinated or get infected – and many of the latter will get very sick. If this doesn’t happen, humanity will not be able to develop the ability to fight the virus on an international scale.
The vaccine objectors, in addition to harming themselves, are holding the rest of the world captive.