Vaccine passports won’t do much as the only way left is force
By Matthew Fraser, Editor in Chief
At this point, half of the battle may just be that people hate feeling like they don’t have a choice.
It has recently been announced that UBC, SFU and a few other BC universities will be requiring full vaccination for campus activities. Given the way that this pandemic has dragged on, at first glance this seems quite understandable, many professors could be in a vulnerable age group and there is likely to be many students with comorbidities; therefore, it’s in the best interest of the school to ensure a safe environment for all. Even though I certainly understand the logic that underlies the idea, I disagree with it in principle. More accurately, I have mixed feelings about how much we should feel comfortable with ostracizing people for their medical decisions.
With a hair over 69% of BC residents being fully vaccinated and just over 76% with their first dose, it’s clear that just about everyone who has wanted to get one has gotten one. When adjusted to exclude those under the age of 12, 78% of eligible BC residents are fully vaccinated and 86% have had at least their first shot. Therefore, the only people who don’t have shots are those either too young to be eligible or the few who just don’t want it. Since universities do not cater to those under 12, it’s safe to assume that most students and faculty are vaccinated. So, we should ask, is it possible to force the remaining few who are clearly unwilling? As the surge in the hugely controversial usage of Ivermectin and the protests in front of BC hospitals shows, some people would rather do anything but take the vaccine, so whats the point of clamping down on them even further through mandates?
And if the goal is to create an ultimatum (comply with the vaccination drive or be excluded from normal life), we run the risk of further antagonizing the people who feel looked down on by the public health push. At this point, half of the battle may just be that people hate feeling like they don’t have a choice. As the vaccination numbers I quoted earlier should show, most people have made the choice they wanted to make either way; it might just be time for us to accept the fact that 100% eligible vaccination is impossible short of force. As the oft quoted philosopher Voltaire once said: “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” 78% fully vaccinated is quite good, it might just be time for us to send our vaccines to the large swaths of the world that want and need them but are severely limited by access. That would be another step towards good and would help put the pandemic firmly behind us.
Finally, post-secondary institutions should be a hotbed of viewpoints and a crucible of debate. Since most people are vaccinated and the chance of hospitalization due to a breakthrough case is astronomically low, let the unvaccinated defend their position and argue their point. Some argue that the unvaccinated are in such a position due to ‘misinformation;’ if that’s true, the last thing we should do is cut them out of educational institutions. If nothing else, they will be better convinced through in person persuasion and debate than government mandate. This may even help educate others for how to deal with any similar situation in the future. We should try to wring every last positive out of this situation that we can, and education might be the last drop.
Despite the best educational efforts, public service announcements, and ease of access, people will exercise the freedoms to make disagreeable decisions whether we like it or not. The unfortunate cost of societal freedom is that someone will do something that others dislike. At this point we may as well acknowledge that anyone in your vicinity who doesn’t have a vaccine wants to be unvaccinated, why are we still trying to force them?