OPINION

More than free beers and donuts

more-than-free-beers-and-donuts

People who have had the Covid-19 vaccine do not make up a homogenous group with common characteristics. The same applies to the unvaccinated population. Nuances exist there too. The sum of vaccine deniers may resemble a germ bomb waiting to go off as, according to experts, inoculation is the most powerful weapon in the effort to contain the virus as it not only protects those who have actually received the shot but also breaks the chain of contagion. 

This world however is not inhabited only by scientists and infectious disease experts. The World Wide Web is crawling with many different species, including self-styled doctors and experts who claim that “Covid testing and vaccines are an insult to human dignity” or, worse, that they can be “lethal to the human body.” That said, sensible people may also ask themselves, openly or privately, about the vaccines’ side effects.

These individuals may not be lured with free beer and donuts – the vaccine incentives that some US states have employed in a bid to reach herd immunity – nor with additional perks. Punitive or exclusive measures will not work either. 

Among the ranks of unvaccinated people worldwide, conspiracy theorists are immune to reason. However, there is a fair share of people who simply have reservations about the shot and do not necessarily flirt with microchip or altered-DNA conspiracy theories. They could be key in raising the wall of immunity. But they will only do so if they first get the answers to the questions which concern them.

The anger, the calls for exclusion coming from the direction of the vaccinated community do not help. What we need is a better awareness campaign – a better organized, more targeted campaign with online videos and designated task forces (perhaps on a municipal level) that can inform citizens who really are concerned about health issues. Access to verified data, open and easy as it may be in theory, can be uncomfortably nebulous. Everyone cites sources that they consider and commend as the most reliable.

If the vaccination campaign resorts to exclusions it risks building a fresh wall instead of bringing down the existing one. Anti-vaxxers will hardly ever be persuaded to have the shot, but those who are hesitant or afraid could be. We are at a crucial turning point that requires caution and sensibility. It is up to us not to fill up the wrong reservoir.