California has tried paying people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus plague. That only helped a little. Some counties are trying out banning the unvaccinated from gyms, restaurants and public gatherings. That also is making only a small dent in the corps of uninoculated.
Many of the unvaccinated still cling to false beliefs and shibboleths long pushed by anti-vaccination lobbyists even in the halcyon days before COVID-19 caused lockdowns, showdowns and myriad business failures.
There’s the myth that vaccines can create zombies, a distortion of a 1990s film. There’s the false belief that minuscule tracking devices are injected into the arms of millions right along with vaccines. There’s the conviction once pushed on the internet that getting jabbed will somehow make you a clone of billionaire Bill Gates – minus the bank account. There’s also the belief that God will somehow protect the unvaccinated.
Even that last has proven invalid, as some of the most moral, observantly religious folks in America have been infected and died.
As non-vaccinated element clings to such beliefs, pushed on some social media outlets, the vaccinated are paying for their fellow citizens’ stubbornness in inconvenience and out-of-pocket dollars.
Not only must the vaccinated now carry proof of that status, either electronic or on small white cards handed out along with Covid shots, but they’re also back to masking, once again waiting for elective surgeries in some hospitals because of Covid case crowding and suffering occasional “breakthrough” infections of their own, even if those are mild compared to what’s hitting the unvaccinated.
Health insurance premiums are going up again in part because of emergency room and intensive care unit costs rung up by the unvaccinated. Schools and stores must disinfect almost everything in sight, and frequently. Airlines and other public transit must keep sanitizing.
All this because of the persistently unvaccinated among us, who insist their unfounded fears trump the rights of the majority, who have gotten vaxxed in order to be safer and more free.
It’s time to make them pay. Why should responsible citizens pay for the stupidity of the willingly unvaccinated, folks who are eligible and medically able to be inoculated, but refuse nevertheless?
So let’s tax them. If travelers want to ride trains or airplanes without vaccinations, let them, so long as they can show a very recent negative test for the virus. But make them pay extra for the privilege, just as most airlines now charge for checked baggage.
Even athletic leagues are beginning to “tax” their members if significant numbers of players refuse to get vaccinated, and with no protests from any team. The Pac 12 conference, for example, declared the other day its schools will forfeit games when they have to be cancelled and one side is “at fault.” Same with the Big 12. No one explained what “at fault” means, but the clear implication was that if significant numbers are not vaccinated on a team that cannot play because of a Covid outbreak, that club will forfeit and the other side will get a win in the standings.
More and more employers are also getting savvy, setting deadlines by which their workers must be vaccinated or be gone. That’s a very effective way to tax the unvaccinated, and might motivate enough people to help bring California to the herd immunity needed for unmasking and more freedoms.
Cruise lines are doing the same, some refusing to carry the unvaccinated and others charging those who refuse inoculations extra to cover the expense of regular COVID-19 tests.
Yet, the unvaccinated continue to insist they are within their rights. Yes, they do have the right to be unvaccinated, but no, they do not have the right to impose inconvenience, contagion or expenses on others.
This may be one time when movie muscleman and ex-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it best. “Screw your freedom!” he said on CNN. “With freedom come obligations and responsibilities; you cannot just say, ‘I have the right to do X,Y or Z. When you affect other people, that’s when it gets serious.”
The pandemic is once again serious today, which makes it high time to give the stubbornly unvaccinated a big push. If that means taxation in various forms, so be it.