In a recent opinion piece in Macleans Magazine, Scott Gilmore wrote what I expect many vaccinated Canadians felt about those who still refuse to get vaccinated and help end this pandemic:
We need to begin treating the vaccine holdouts as the fools they are. It is not fair that reasonable and responsible Canadians should pay the price for their deadly selfishness. No more soothing tones and patience. Time for the stick.
The stick in question that Gilmore suggests is withholding services and access to the unvaccinated, as was recently announced in France and Italy: without proof of vaccinations, people there cannot enter airports, restaurants, hospitals, shopping centers or take a train. When those laws were passed, millions of previously reluctant people got their vaccinations within a couple of days in both nations.
Let’s do it here, too! Enough mollycoddling. Let’s put some stick about.
I’d even suggest that refusing a vaccination should be taken as opting out of the public healthcare system. After all, if you refuse to participate in helping it manage the pandemic, why should you be treated if you get infected by the virus? And if you get caught trying to bluff your way with fake ID? An automatic jail sentence. No appeal. Maybe a jail specifically reserved for the unvaccinated.
Why do we need such draconian measures? Well, because there are still far too many anti-social idiots and selfish assholes who refuse to get vaccinated, who refuse to help end the pandemic, who refuse to accept any obligations or responsibilities to the rest of our nation. Yes, assholes is the correct term, albeit more polite than they deserve. As Gilmore notes,
Who are these people? The University of Sydney conducted a study of the unvaccinated in Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. It found that, in comparison to the population at large, these people tended to have “less agreeable personalities”, be less cooperative with others, more selfish, and more extroverted. (In the vernacular, the term is “assholes”.)
Adding to this mix we also have the gullible, people who believe Anthony Fauci created the pandemic, or that Bill Gates is putting tracking chips in the vaccines. And, there are of course the misled. It is not a coincidence that Fox News viewers are far less likely to believe the vaccine works, according to a recent Axios/Ipsos poll.
And among the rightwingers are those who spew piffle about their “freedoms” and “rights” being violated if you even suggest some sort of “passport” or proof of vaccination (what about the “rights” of the rest of us to live in a safe, healthy world, free of your idiocy and selfishness?).
Let’s put that codswallop to rest: you need to wear shoes and clothes to eat in a restaurant; you need a licence to drive and to own a gun; you need to show identification in dozens of situations to get access, parking passes, permits, etc. You need to show permits when you build even on your own property. You need to show a receipt when you take something from a store (shop at Costco? You’ll know about lining up to show your receipt). If you travel abroad, you likely need to get vaccinated for several common tropical or dangerous diseases before you can get travel insurance. Own a dog? You need a licence and proof of rabies vaccination.
Living in a community, living in a society, living with public services, with neighbours, with community facilities, stores, and businesses has limits, rules, laws, and requirements. Period. You don’t want them? Move to the woods, off the grid. Otherwise start acting like a responsible adult. Stop whining about your “rights.”
Slowly, some institutions, businesses, facilities, and even governments are starting to take steps to curb the spread. Georgian College, for example, will require vaccinations for all students and teachers this fall. Federal employees and both air and train passengers will require vaccinations by the end of October. At the same time, the province is closing mass vaccination clinics, requiring people to depend on rare pop-up clinics, or local drive-through clinics. Failing that, they will have to ask their family doctors for advice.
Will people make the effort to get a shot when those sites close? I doubt many of the unvaccinated will bother because they are already ideologically ossified in their resistance. We have about an 82% vaccination rate in Canada (72% one shot, 63% both shots), But as Gilmore points out, vaccination rates have stalled:
Our daily vaccination rate is dropping off a cliff. We are now administering 1/3 the number of doses per day compared to a month ago. Those who remain unvaccinated will not be lured into line. We need a stick.
Among the anti-vaxxers are the hardcore, virulently selfish idiots who protest measures like mask-wearing, hand-washing, lockdowns, and social distancing. They protest these minor inconveniences on the streets of our cities as if they were being forced to wear yellow stars and herded into cattle trucks. Yet police treat them with respect and indulgence and allow them to continue when they should all be arrested and fined for endangering the rest of us. Lock ’em up!
For all the ‘rights” and “freedoms” they whine about, none of these covidiots ever talk about their responsibilities and obligations living in an open, democratic society entails. They only care about their own convenience and their access to shopping and services.
Let’s be clear: if you’re among these immature, anti-social, and irresponsible people — protestors and unvaccinated alike — then YOU are the reason for the continuing pandemic, for the continuing measures, and the lockdowns because YOU refuse to accept any civil or social responsibility. Don’t blame the vaccinated for these measures. The fourth wave is on YOU.
Is a passport a violation of your “right” to travel? Is a driver’s licence a violation of your “right” to drive? No? Well, a vaccination passport will not be a violation of your “right” to shop, either.
Are these measures really as draconian as opponents whine? Not at all. When I was growing up, school kids were issued a “passport” that recorded our vaccinations given in school by a public health nurse: polio, smallpox, measles, and others. No one whined about freedoms and rights then because we were eradicating crippling and even fatal diseases that had plagued humankind since before the Sumerians. That passport was a thing of pride, not repression. It showed we were safe from them, that we took our responsibility to the community’s health seriously.
But that was long before Fox “news”, the internet, rightwing talk radio, QAnon, and social media became platforms for spreading lies, wingnut conspiracies (including some really, really stupid fantasies that you’d have to be mostly brain dead to even consider), political claptrap about rights, and unfounded, anti-intellectual accusations against scientists, researchers, and other experts.
If you follow the news (the REAL media, not the Fox ideological screeds) about COVID-19, you’ll know that most of the new cases are among the unvaccinated. A typical story from CTV News yesterday was headlined, “Ontario reports another 510 cases of COVID-19, most infections found in unvaccinated people.” A recent story on Simcoe.com was headlined, “Unvaccinated people 8 times more likely to get infected, top doctor says.”
These aren’t unique or rare: media is FULL of such headlines, more so now than ever. How daft, how deliberately ignorant do you need to be to ignore the facts and remain unvaccinated?
In the USA, a story from C/NET was headlined, “99% of COVID deaths are now of unvaccinated people, experts say.” Not surprisingly, in the USA, the gap between vaccinated Democrats and Republicans is widening, with only 35% of those in Repugnican counties getting the shot, compared to almost 47% in Democrat-voting counties. In part that’s because more Repugnicans believe in a host of wacky conspiracies, pseudoscience and pseudo-medicine claptrap, religious nonsense (particularly from the Talibangelist con artists), bipartisanship, and the Big Lie of the PutinTrump camp (“We won the election”). About 60% of the USA population has received one dose, and only 51% is fully vaccinated. But there, too, vaccination rates are stalled. A full quarter of the USA’s new cases are in the Repugnican-anti-science-led state of Florida.
At the same time, Prof Sir Andrew Pollard, the head of the Oxford Vaccine Group has said “vaccines did not stop the spread of Covid meant reaching the threshold for overall immunity in the population was “mythical”.” However, the Guardian article noted,
Data from a recent React study conducted by Imperial College London suggests that fully vaccinated people aged 18 to 64 have about a 49% lower risk of being infected compared with unvaccinated people. The findings also indicated that fully vaccinated people were about half as likely to test positive after coming into contact with someone who had Covid (3.84%, down from 7.23%).
So while not invulnerable to the Delta variant, vaccinated people are much less at risk, further underscoring the need to get everyone vaccinated. But that argument still won’t sway the ideologues and anti-vaxxers. Their desire to shop and get their hair styled is paramount.
We live in a world where anti-intellectualism, anti-science, anti-fact is on the rise and it’s a virus in itself. Coupled with the myth that it’s better to be a selfish individual than a member of a collaborative, cooperative community, this is toxic.
I agree with Gilmore: we can’t treat these people with respect or kid gloves any more: their behaviour is anti-social, threatening, and harmful. We need to use a stick otherwise we will all continue to suffer as a result of their selfishness and ignorance.
PS. Yes, I realize there need to be medical exemptions from vaccinations, but that’s a very small, and easily-identified percentage of the unvaccinated population. Religious exemptions? Forget it. Faith — no matter whose or what — does not top public health.
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I’ve gotten my first shot and I’m going to schedule the next one on Monday, so I’m no antivaxxer, but I don’t support forcing adults (kids are different story,) into being vaccinated against their will, this won’t end well and will likely backfire.
Do you support drivers and passengers being forced to wear seatbelts against their will? Do you support smokers being forced not to smoke in public places, against their will? Do you support people being made to wear clothes in public, against their will? Do you support drivers driving at or below the speed limit, against their will? Do you support making dog powers get a licence against their will? Do you support making airplane passengers sit down and buckle up during takeoff and landing, against their will? Do you support property owners paying taxes against their will? Do you support police arresting criminals against their will?
Will (i.e. personal choice) is not a reason to do or not do anything when the issue is communal or social, it’s an excuse.
Society makes rules that some of us – even most of us – may not want to follow. But to live in that society with others requires that we do so. I don’t want to pay taxes, drive at the speed limit, pick up after my dog, or do any of a number of things that are dictated by the community. But I do because that’s how we survive as a group. And when a person’s behaviour threatens the safety and security of the group, society has to respond to curtail or change it.
To live in a society entails obligations and responsibilities. If someone refuses to accept that, then society has the right to respond in a manner to enforce compliance. Especially when that person’s behaviour threatens the lives and health of others. We did it with smokers, we did it with smallpox vaccines, we did it with seatbelts and motorcycle helmets; we can do it with anti-vaxxers.
A few comments:
Nova Scotia is well out in the provincial lead on vaccinations, about 5% per capita ahead of the next. Our Chief Public Health Officer, a real bulldog, REFUSES to talk in terms of “eligible” people, only in terms of percentage of TOTAL population. And so do I. I want intellectual honesty, but most provinces and media use the bigger numbers given by “eligible” people to make them look good, when they’re really only meh.
Let’s look at the figures as displayed by the USask volunteers running that non-big-media website covid19tracker.ca/vaccinationtracker.html, which you also use as do I.
Only 71.8% of the total Canadian population has received at least one vaccine dose; 63.2% have received both. That does NOT translate to 82% overall in any math I know, sorry. You need to keep your figures aligned to total, not eligible populations. Want to weep at regional wack-a-doodle lunacy? Check out the Alberta and Saskatchewan numbers.
The US numbers are 61% with at least one dose, and 51% with two for their ENTIRE population. Alberta is at 64.9% one and 57.3% with two, better than the US, but not by much.
Nova Scotia is at 76% one dose, 66.9% two doses, and we’re the leader. We will not get to “fully” re-open under our Phase 5 until the two-dose level reaches 75%, likely in about a month based on booked appointments. All the “f**kwit” provinces around us with lower vaccination rates are “maskless and free” already. Numbnutz politicians running things, and tripping the light fantastic, tra la la la lee. In NS, our big public health vax clinics are now closed as of tomorrow, but well over 200 pharmacies can give you a shot tomorrow and beyond — Ontario’s dumbo policies are your local problem. And we are still running testing everywhere. I think our Covid performance has become a point of pride with people, even as our health system overall itself is dreadful, and the biggest issue affecting the provincial election this Tuesday the 17th.
The worried people here are parents about to send their unvaccinated children back to school with the Delta variant about. NS’s stellar response to Covid can’t protect them if misfortune occurs as NB goes Delta fourth wave and we let those people in here on trips, which is why I like our tough policies for re-opening that at least try to keep a lid on things. Vaccinated people can get Delta, not feel bad, but spread the virus like crazy. That’s a big problem for children under 12.
As for the general run of Canadian dolts who can’t be bothered to get vaccinated, I’m with you. Time to make them get jabs, and enough with the “poisoning my precious bodily fluids” routine. All the reasons you mention to get a jab have been used by me talking to people. Not that there’s too many around these parts to convince. I still have my little yellow vaccine passport from my 1971 backpacking days in Europe. Should I have bleated at the time that I didn’t need a yellow or dengue fever jab and staged a protest rally? That’s about the level of stupidity anti-vaxxers exhibit today. Let ’em rot when it comes to hospital treatment for Delta. They had their chance to get vaccinated and blew it. It’s a case of the beatings (by Covid) will continue until morale (vaccinations) improves.
Big City Mayors want proof of COVID-19 vaccinations to fight fourth wave (simcoe.com)
I’m stealing this comment from Facebook poster “Insufferably Intolerant Science Nerd” because some readers may not see it on their FB timeline or even use FB. It illustrates just how far from reality these anti-vaxxers/anti-maskers/anti-science protesters have strayed. They are increasingly dangerous to the rest of humanity and out tolerance for their selfish, anti-social behaviour must end.
Insufferably Intolerant Science Nerd | Facebook wrote on Aug. 22, 2021:
One of my mates is currently in the Northern Territory (in Australia) and decided to scope out an anti-lockdown protest. NT currently is not in lockdown, however mask and social distancing applies. Here’s what she found:
“I’m in Darwin and went to see how many people would show up to the anti- lockdown/ anti-vaccination protest here yesterday. (Darwin has had just two very short lockdowns, and thus far is doing very well keeping Covid at bay).
There were about 200 people. It was held at a small park in the CBD. About 1/3 were wearing masks, (currently here you need to wear a mask outdoors if you cannot maintain social distancing – the small area they were gathered in meant there was no social distancing) but most of those mask wearers had them on under their chins. I wore a mask, and went through the crowd just looking to see what people’s arguments against lockdowns and vaccination were, and frankly it was a frightening display of ignorance and conspiracy theories.
One guy I spoke with said he’d already got $10K in fines since the start of Covid and wasn’t going to pay. He said the cops would eventually realise they were wrong and nobody would pursue his fines. I asked another woman who was handing out anti vaccination stickers if she was worried about a fine for not wearing a mask. She said she’d be fine as long as she maintained a 1.5 m distance from everyone. I found this a bit bizarre as she literally had people milling all around her as she said it.
Others were shouting abuse at the media and the police. One demanded that a camera man answer her questions on Covid, apparently not realising he was just a camera guy doing his job and not a reporter. She became abusive when he didn’t engage with her. Children as young as five were holding up signs with ‘new world order’ and ‘I am a sovereign citizen’ written on them. I heard an elderly lady try and explain to a young child why vaccinations were bad-‘they change your DNA you see!’ To which the 4-ish year old nodded compliantly and ran off to play.
Most people I spoke with did not believe the virus was even real.
One guy stood behind me yelling at the police ‘show me medical evidence that the virus exists!’
Another group of three people were lamenting that the ‘sheeple’ wearing masks and getting vaccinated were ‘brainwashed’ and deserved pity- our eyes have not been opened yet and it’s up to these intrepid warriors to educate us all on matters of immunology and epidemiology.
I’m seeing friends post on social media saying we need to be respectful of others’ opinions and not contribute to the divide that exists.
My respect for others ends abruptly and without apology when there are people’s lives and long term health at risk- and call me selfish, but especially my own family. No. I don’t respect your right to deny science based evidence and put me and my loved ones at risk. I respect your right to be vegan. I respect your right to like the type of music I don’t. I respect your right to think that pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza. I respect your right to cover yourself in tattoos, dye your hair whatever the hell colour you want, wear clothes that I don’t like.
I embrace all of that diversity, in fact I love it. Life would be boring without it. But don’t do things that endanger others. It’s not what community and tolerance and love and diversity are all about. Fine, don’t get vaccinated. But wear a mask at least, maintain social distancing and wash your hands. If you still, by now, with all the available data, aren’t convinced that contracting Covid won’t be a lot easier on you and the health system if you’re vaccinated rather than unvaccinated, there’s nothing I can say or do that is likely to sway you.
I find it very difficult to be sympathetic to the protesters and I cannot respect their opinions when there is now so much data out there and information that crushes their arguments. All they are doing is prolonging this for everyone and putting us all at risk. Take a look at these signs and tell me why I should respect these opinions.”
Enough already. Federal law should require any citizen who wants to cash a government check, use public transport, or enter a place of business to show proof of vaccination. I published the following post when we’d lost 300,000 Americans. Nine months later, we have a vaccine … and 613,000 deaths. The world suffers from a dearth of vaccines. America suffers from dysfunction.