In a previous post, I wondered whether vaccine mandates are a possible route to end the pandemic. We need vaccination, but too few people have received their necessary shots (including the “booster”). My earlier argument was based on the idea that we should acknowledge people’s fear of the vaccine, and not enforce vaccination through a mandate, but encourage it through an information campaign.
After spending several months looking through comments and posts by people skeptical of medical expertise on Covid and vaccinations, and having observed the various protests throughout mostly the Western world, my opinion has shifted.
We need vaccine mandates. We have seen that the vaccines are efficient at preventing serious illness and death, and even a bit against transmission. Those choosing – against medical expertise – to refuse vaccination, are deliberately prioritizing their own freedom over others. they are choosing to take hospital beds away from regular patients who fulfilled their duty to society to get vaccinated.
Probably 1 million people died during the pandemic in the US alone, as marked by looking at “excess deaths” – which is more than in during the 1918 Spanish flu in the US. Globally, as of today, at least 4.8 million have died worldwide so far – probably an undercount (we should be suspicious about numbers from dictatorships and less developed countries). This crisis is real, and it is ongoing.
You have the right to not get vaccinated. In a democracy, you have the right to be selfish, to believe whatever disinformation you are being fed, to even spread the same disinformation. You have the privilege to not show solidarity to your fellow citizens. We know that vaccines are safe – specifically, and this is relevant – they are much, much safer than infection. There is no doubt about that. We also know that (K)N-95 or FFP2 masks work. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, wear the mask. We also know that lockdowns have worked – if you actually used the time to get vaccinated during your quasi-quarantine.
But what we see is that those who refuse to get vaccinated frequently also agitate against masks and lockdowns. They tend to also agitate against scientists, democratically elected politicians, journalists, and against those in favor of covid measures. This is a potent mixture of people who pretend to care about freedom and democracy, but who have no compunction of tolerating the enemies of freedom and democracy among them.
Are vaccine mandates stirring up the anti-vax crowd? Certainly. Would they have been convinced otherwise? I have seen no evidence of that, and I have been waiting for months.
So, if you want to enjoy your privilege of ignoring science, democratic guidance and solidarity, go ahead. But you should pay for that privilege like anyone else willingly engaging in risky behavior. Maybe insurance premiums are a solution, maybe fines, maybe access restrictions, probably a combination of all those.
We are tired of this pandemic. End it. Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Stop this nonsense.