Manawatu Standard

Time to get tough on vaccine evaders


Last summer, when a new, deadly wave of Covid-19 infections gripped the nation, the only solace was that a vaccine seemed possible, if not probable, within the year. It was the light in the proverbial tunnel.

We should have reached the end of the tunnel by now, thanks to amazing feats of science and government that developed and mass-produced several Covid-19 vaccines in record time. Yet it’s still agonizingl­y far away because of falling demand for the abundant and free shots, despite pleas and cash giveaways to nudge vaccine holdouts.

At this point, it’s clear that carrots aren’t enough to compel the 41 per cent of Americans who have yet to get a single Covid vaccine shot. Universal government vaccine mandates are not the way to go. People should have a right to decide what goes into their bodies, including lifesaving medication and vaccines.

But what people should not have the right to do is endanger the health of other people as they exercise their personal freedom. And that’s the line that should guide government officials and private employers to seek tougher restrictio­ns on vaccine foot-draggers. If someone rejects inoculatio­n for reasons other than medical, they should not be allowed to fully participat­e in society until this current public emergency is over. It’s time to get tough on Covid-19 vaccine evaders.

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