“I no longer have any intention of sacrificing my life, my time, my freedom and the adolescence of my [sons], as well as their right to study properly, for those who refuse to be vaccinated. This time you stay at home, not us.” (Selvaggia Lucarelli’s post on Instagram made on July 13 ( here ). Lucarelli also posted it on her Facebook page ( here )
In France, those who do not get vaccinated will no longer be able to go to restaurants, cafes (from the beginning of August), cinemas and museums (from July 21) and get on airplanes or trains (again from August). Alternatively, you will have to submit a negative test, which will no longer be free. (49 euros for the PCR, 29 for the antigen.)
Macron then announced the vaccination obligation for medical personnel and for those who work in contact with fragile people. Since September 15, a nurse who has refused to be vaccinated will no longer be able to go to work and receive a salary.
“We cannot make those who have the civic sense to get vaccinated bear the burden of inconvenience,” Macron said. “The restrictions will weigh on others, those who for reasons incomprehensible in the country of Louis Pasteur, science and the Enlightenment still hesitate to use the only weapon available against the pandemic, the vaccine.”
America, It’s Time for Mandates and Vaccine Passports!
In this country, we have Fox News conservative media hosts like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and Republicans in leadership positions who have all consciously and deliberately been trafficking in misinformation and disinformation for political and personal gain. Vaccine resistance is a clear predictor of upsurge in the virus in states across America. The three states experiencing 40% of new cases are Florida, Missouri and Texas. These are also states with high vaccine refusal. In Florida and in other rural locations hospitalizations are spiking but many people, mostly Republicans, fear the vaccine more than the virus thanks to massive disinformation.
In April, people in counties that Joe Biden won in 2020 were two points more likely to be fully vaccinated than people in counties that Donald Trump won: 22.8 percent were fully vaccinated in Biden counties; 20.6 percent were fully vaccinated in Trump counties. By early July, the vaccination gap had widened to almost 12 points: 46.7 percent were fully vaccinated in Biden counties, 35 percent in Trump counties. When pollsters ask about vaccine intentions, they record a 30-point gap: 88 percent of Democrats, but only 54 percent of Republicans, want to be vaccinated as soon as possible. All told, Trump support predicts a state’s vaccine refusal better than average income or education level. (David Frum- The Atlantic)
It is true that some people are not able to get the vaccine because they are not yet eligible. Anyone under 12 cannot get it. And others might be hesitant because of underlying medical conditions or the fact that these vaccines have been approved only for emergency use despite their obvious success. Their situation is truly unfortunate, but over time should be resolved as we learn more about this virus, younger people become eligible, and the FDA fully approves these new miraculous vaccines. These are not the people holding our country back from returning to full activity. It is the group of resisters, the self-righteous refusniks creating the spike we are having in Delta virus illness and hospitalizations.
Why should people who did their civic duty by getting vaccinated have to suffer the consequences resulting from millions of American who think they have a god given right to be hold outs when it comes to the vaccine? Many of them are the same people who are tormenting Dr. Fauci and our health care professionals who are working hard to save lives. Shame on them!
Why Mandates and Passports Are a Good Idea
Some Americans who do not get the vaccine because it is an invasion of their freedom and rights are getting Covid and once they are in the hospital they beg for the vaccine. Of course it is too late at that point. Vaccine mandates and passports could have saved their lives.
The Biden administration is doing outreach– even going door to door to help people get their questions answered about the vaccine. The vaccine is free. It is available within 5 to 10 miles of every single American in this country. If people have not gotten the message by now that this is important to get a vaccine to save not only their own lives but the lives of people they care about- friends and family and members of their community, and to support our economic recovery and our country, then they have been living in an alternate universe. And, yes, they have been. This vaccine disinformation effort has been successful. It has created an alternate universe of denialists. This is why the answer to such powerful messages of denialism must be met with a powerful response even if there is backlash.
Political Fall Out
Leaving the choice up to Americans about getting a vaccine is less risky for Democrats and for this administration if they hope to avoid the backlash. But it is overwhelmingly bad for America to stall out on inoculating more Americans because that will damage the potential for fully re-opening the country and getting our lives back. It will delay and thwart the successful economic recovery we were well on our way to achieving.
The GOP has been encouraging mass refusal, claiming it’s your right to refuse, you have the “freedom” to refuse. Republicans are on a cynical mission to damage the economy so that Biden and Democrats will not get reelected. They think they have Democrats in a box. If Biden and Democrats support mandates and vaccine passports, they will get a backlash. If they leave these misinformed Republicans alone to make their own so called “informed” choice about the vaccine, the economy will not recover well–shoppers will shun the stores again.
There are rules, regulations and mandates when you live in a civilized country where we rely on each other. We have to have drivers licenses to drive a car and passports to travel and vaccines to go to school. We need mandates to get out of this pandemic and it should not be a political issue but the GOP and Trump have made it political.
Thanks to Trump and his GOP enablers, this is a country riven by political divisiveness like never before except at the time of the Civil War. Everything the Democrats say or do is interpreted by Trumpian Republicans as an imposition on their freedom. They live to “own the libs”. This time Trumpian Republicans are owning themselves and flirting with death and debilitating long haul Covid symptoms.
The solution is to get tough. Mandates are the best solution and probably the only way to get unwilling Americans to finally do the right thing and get vaccinated. Republicans might be grumpy about it or nervous about it, but if these people cannot hold a job or go to a ball game or a big fun event or travel on a plane or a bus or a train without a vaccine passport, many would get a vaccine and the rest of us could get back to our lives.
Imagine what the generation of Americans who fought in World War II would think of us today? Those Americans pulled together against a common enemy to fight for democracy. The common enemy today is a pandemic. Do you think those Americans living in the time of World War II would refuse a life saving vaccine that would help everyone return to a normal productive life? Not a chance.
There Need to be Consequences for Disinformation and Refusniks
Since many of these vaccine refusniks are also the people tormenting nurses and doctors, calling them murderers and liars, assailing Dr. Fauci and other epidemiologists, threatening their lives and screaming at them in townhall meetings, when these people get Covid and are admitted to the hospital gasping for breath and in need of a ventilator, why should anyone lift a finger to try to save their lives? People who are making the pandemic worse by refusing to get a vaccine should have consequences for their behavior. How hard would it be to identify people who are threatening our health care workers and blacklist them? Their behavior is not only damaging our recovery it is traumatizing our health care workers who do not deserve to be treated this way. Why aren’t the people threatening our health care workers not being prosecuted for their death threats? They need to be.
What if the health care system kept track of everyone who was offered a vaccine and refused it? Even better, when the person refuses the vaccine have them sign a waiver that they will not ask the health care system, their local hospitals, doctors and nurses, to take care of them when they get sick with this virus. If they had to make that choice- take the vaccine or waive future care if they get Covid, I wonder how many of these refusniks would take the vaccine.
And how about the Fox News hosts who traffic in disinformation? When will the survivors of a Fox News watcher who died of Covid bring a wrongful death lawsuit against Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham and other Fox hosts who clearly know better? I think that is coming.
What about lawsuits against Facebook for their half hearted effort to police disinformation? There need to be consequences. These liars and disinformers should not get off scot free.
What is Likely to Happen Instead
Unlike France, the Biden administration may rely on companies and schools to enforce rules and put mandates in place. It will be up to colleges and universities to require a vaccine if you want to attend in person classes. Companies have the power to require workers to have proof of vaccination to come to work. But this will drag out the pandemic and set us up for more variants that could break through the shield offered by our current vaccines.
I think Macron has it right. Refusniks should be the ones who cannot enjoy life the way they used to, and the vaccinated, who did their civic duty, should be having all the fun. If that happens it won’t take long for vaccine refusniks to do the right thing for themselves and for the rest of us, namely, get vaccinated!