Governments around the world have continued to urge their citizens to vaccinate, and some have taken stringent methods against those who are either unwittingly or deliberately, holding the rest of the population to ransom as the numbers of infected once again soar.
Passes or passports have been adopted to allow the vaccinated greater freedom and access to leisure spots.
France, and Greece are mandating vaccines for health care professionals, among other measures.
In some states in Australia, only the vaxxed are allowed to return to work. Singapore has ceased paying the high cost of treating unvaxxed, Covid-positive patients who are hospitalised.
Italy requires all health care workers, teachers, police, armed forces members and those who provide services to nursing home residents to be fully vaccinated; 1,900 doctors and dentists were suspended due to non-compliance. In Quebec, the unvaccinated will be taxed a sizeable amount, a health “contribution”, to offset hospital costs.
In other countries, individual companies instituted, a ‘no jab, no job’ policy. Some employees chose no job. Teachers will be committing an offence if they show up to school unvaccinated in New Zealand.
Children in China will not be allowed to school unless the entire family is vaccinated.
The approach in Trinidad and Tobago is comparatively gentle. Beyond the safe zone impetus, the Ministry of Health has now included information on the numbers of positive unvaccinated people in the system as compared to those vaccinated. The statistics are clear.
Patience is wearing thin…or has worn thin, towards those who continue to choose to remain unvaxxed.
In September of last year, US President Joe Biden expressed his annoyance at the disregard for others the unvaxxed seem to have. “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”
The Health Minister of Malaysia Khairy Jamaluddin, in the face of rising cases, said, “Sorry to say, we will make life very difficult for you if you’re not vaccinated by choice.”
This year, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau said Canadians are angry with those who chose to be unvaccinated. “When people see that we’re in lockdowns, or serious public health restrictions right now because [of] the risk posed to all of us by unvaccinated people, people get angry.”
And people are heated, on both sides of the divide. But there is another dimension which has emerged in the reactions of members of the vaccinated crew.
In an article in The Atlantic entitled, ‘People are hiding that their unvaccinated loved ones died of COVID’ (January 8, 2022), a shift in perception of Covid victims was noted, between 2020 to 2021 with the emergence of the vaccine.
“In 2020, dying of COVID-19 was widely seen as an unqualified tragedy. It was the beginning of the pandemic when it felt as if the entire world was in a state of collective grief. There was a palpable, shared mourning for all the lives gone too soon….Now the majority of COVID deaths are occurring among the unvaccinated, and many deaths are likely preventable. The compassion extended to the virus’s victims is no longer universal. Sometimes, in place of condolences, loved ones receive scorn. Vitriol doesn’t come just from familiar names, but also from strangers.”
With the anger has come a loss of empathy. Indeed, it is a difficult internal battle, not to wonder at the wilful stubbornness to remain unvaxxed in the face of the incontrovertible evidence that to remain without the vaccine increases vulnerability, even in declining efficacy after six months (boosting helps).
It is however, one thing to be in support of the vaccine, and quite another to be detached from the deaths of those who leave family and friends to mourn. The approach is a disengaged, “But they look fuh dat!”.
Yes, there is frustration but let us not lose our humanity in this tumultuous time. We remember in prayer all those who have died from or are infected with Covid, and their families, vaccinated or not.