Society loves a scapegoat. It’s comforting to be part of a majority that can point at a minority to blame for their ills.
The scapegoats that we are ostracizing today are those who are choosing not to get vaccinated.
As an exhausted population deals with the fourth wave of COVID-19, they want to see a way out. They want to blame somebody for this prolonged state of living in fear of infection and rolling lockdowns. They just want it all to end and they have decided to point their collective, judgmental fingers at the unvaccinated.
Witch hunts carried out by frightened mobs never end well. We could be driving some people to extremes.
For those who feel that vaccination is an essential component to breaking free from the pandemic, it is frustrating to watch vaccine uptake stalling. In most regions, vaccination rates seem to pause at around the 80 percent rate.
Governments initially began trying the carrot method in order to encourage vaccine participation. We saw everything from lotteries to gift cards offered as enticements for getting the jab. The carrot method had little success. Spurred on by an increasingly hysteric population, governments are now moving on to using the stick.
There are a number of reasons why people choose not to get vaccinated. Many are within an apathetic group who simply never got around to it. With access to nightclubs and sporting events being limited, I suspect that many of them will suddenly find the time and motivation to get the jab.
There are a number of people who are truly just vaccine-hesitant. They are concerned about side effects and want to see more data before injecting something into their bodies. These people can be convinced to take part in vaccination over time if they are approached with reason and respect. We aren’t seeing much of either of those traits from increasingly shrill vaccination advocates, though.
Shaming and threatening the hesitant will only make them dig their heels in. Vaccine advocates need to temper their approach or they will achieve the opposite effect of what they want to see.
The final, and likely smallest group of unvaccinated people are the true “anti-vaxxers.” These are people who are convinced that vaccines are going to harm or possibly kill them. They will never willingly submit to being vaccinated, or allow their children to be vaccinated.
Try to put yourself into the shoes of somebody who views vaccines as a toxin. If you believed that a vaccine would kill you or change your DNA, would anything ever convince you to put it in your body? Of course not.
We need to accept and make accommodations for the reality that a sizable segment of the population will never be vaccinated. Whether it’s through rapid testing schemes, separate schools, or segregated workplaces, we can’t let these people get cut off from all aspects of society.
If even only six percent of the population is deeply opposed to vaccination, that makes up millions of people. Many of these people work in the health-care system by the way, and drumming them out of employment won’t ease the burden on hospitals.
Right now, those who are terrified of vaccinations are feeling pretty cornered. They are losing their jobs, their friends, and their ability to travel. They are being pushed into a miserable existence where they may end up virtually locked within their homes for the foreseeable future.
I can’t think of a better recipe for taking somebody who has challenges with mental stability and pushing them into actions that may harm themselves or others.
This feeling of fearful helplessness has now been exacerbated with the end of the federal election. Many people hoped that a strong electoral showing from Maxime Bernier’s PPC would protect them from coerced vaccination. The heightened tension was evident at PPC rallies and in some protests. Those people have now lost hope of protection through the electoral system and feel that they have no voice within government.
There are few people more dangerous than those who feel that they have nothing to lose and nowhere to go.
We can’t stop encouraging vaccination for fear of triggering an extremist. We can, however, work to change our tone and approach with those who are choosing not to get vaccinated. We are creating a caste of dejected, desperate people. We may not understand their point of view but we have to try to sympathize with it.
If we keep blaming, shaming, and marginalizing this minority, I fear that we may push somebody over the edge. The next act of aggression may be something much worse than a frustrated fool tossing a handful of gravel at the prime minister.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.