Personal Choice vs. Aloha

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Photo: Dr. Jeffrey Akaka

By Jeffrey Akaka, MD

The article authored by Keliʻi Akina, PhD, in the October 2021 Ka Wai Ola, favoring personal choice over vaccine mandates, is deeply disappointing.

Our keiki have no vaccine protection against infection, sickness and death from COVID-19. Our keiki are the noses that the unvaccinated fists, emboldened by the article, are smashing.

Does the author favor smoker’s rights over their coworkers dying of cancer from their smoke, or favor vaccine refusal over kids killed by measles, mumps, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid or smallpox? There is no difference. Public health mandates save lives. Refusal kills.

Individual health choice ends when your choice kills our keiki.

What happened to Hawaiʻi’s highest value, Aloha, the unconditional regard for your fellow human being, which seeks to do good to a person, with no condition attached, out of a sense of kinship?

Choosing to disregard your neighbor’s lungs and life is not Aloha.

Everyone, please, embody the Aloha Spirit by helping everybody to stay alive. Please get vaccinated, and support vaccine mandates against COVID-19.

Please support Aloha.


Dr. Jeffrey Akaka graduated from Kamehameha Schools and the John A Burns School of Medicine. He is the son of the late Rev. Abraham Kahi- kina Akaka, whose Statehood Sermon on The Meaning of Aloha delivered at the Kawaiahaʻo Church the day after statehood in 1959 can be found at www.akakafoundation.org/sermons.html.