Anti-vax mobilisation starting to look like a losing strategy

Several countries no longer rely on positive motivation to get vaccinated against Covid.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: AP/TASR)

I recently returned from a work trip to New York City, where — starting September 13 — all customers and staff at restaurants, gyms and other indoor retail businesses were required to be vaccinated.

In the few days that my trip overlapped with the new policy, enforcement was still spotty (only one restaurant actually asked for my proof of vaccination), but it got me thinking about what a sensible policy it is.

In democracies, we prefer persuasion over coercion, but in a world where people are unable or unwilling to comprehend evidence, persuasion looks to have reached its limits. And vaccine mandates are nothing new. Most countries, for example, mandate that children get certain vaccines before they attend school.

Along with posing a public health risk, Covid vaccine skeptics result in slow economic recovery, prolong restrictions on travel and make it necessary to wear masks indefinitely. Far from an individual decision, their actions have a profound impact on the rights and freedoms of others.

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