How come when you’re talking to God, it’s called praying but when God’s talking to you, it’s schizophrenia. – Complaint of the anti-vaxxer.
We received our Pfizer booster shots two weeks ago. Most people awaiting vaccination at the community centre near our apartment in Singapore were young, probably taking their first doses but there were at least three who were clearly older than us.
They looked scared and we realised they had to be those who’d delayed their shots for whatever reason. The pressure probably got too much for them.
Like Malaysia, there is no law in Singapore that compels vaccination. But the city-state has made it very difficult for non-vaxxers to get by.
They can’t get into malls, restaurants cinemas, parks, even hawker centres – where most people go when they eat out.
On Thursday, Singapore lowered the boom again. Previously, people admitted to hospital for Covid-19 were treated free of charge. Now, non-vaxxers could face charges of up to S$25,000 for full treatment until discharge.
In matters of vaccination, I submit that he who hesitates is a damn fool who will get sick and worse.
Here, we have good news and bad news.
First, the good news. Global studies have indicated that only a very small proportion of anti-vaxxers are the rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth conspiracy theorists who believe that either Bill Gates, George Soros or Elvis Presley, or a combination of all three thereof, is working with Big Pharma to force vaccines into the bloodstreams of Everyman to achieve Global Dominance.
One suspects that their numbers might be higher in the United State where reason, apparently, counts for not much.
There’s very little that can be done for such folk except Prozac and a map to the nearest asylum.
Even so, most hesitaters are just that, people who procrastinate out of ignorance, habit, anxiety or, simply because of stuff they’ve read on the Internet. Through measures like those in Malaysia or Singapore, these people can generally be steered to safety.
Even so, it will take its time coming, for their numbers are legion. They range from 10-20% in the United Kingdom through to 50% in France and, most surprisingly to me at least, 60% in Japan. This is according to the BBC.
There aren’t any comparable numbers for the US but one suspects they might be higher.
Because of its computerised documentation, Singapore knows exactly how many people living on the island are unvaccinated, but it isn’t saying. It’s less clear in Malaysia. Nonetheless, their numbers are still significant. Example: it was revealed recently that 27,000 civil servants remained unvaccinated. This is unacceptable as they constitute a danger to themselves, their families, and the public at large.
The pandemic’s not going away anytime soon and that’s rapidly getting to be a problem. In Malaysia, the infectivity rate has begun reversing and has now gone back to 1. And the UK’s hospitals are now so crowded that you can only get in by accident.
I think it is time to concede that it is no longer tenable to frame the notion of vaccination as a matter of “personal choice.”
When that choice encroaches into the realm of “public health”, it cannot and will not hold.
Indeed, it should never hold.