What Will We Do About the Unvaccinated?

The growing Delta variant hotspots in red states like Missouri are worrisome. And the question is, what can be done? I don’t know. I’m not sure anything can be done.

Some guy named Brian Broome writes of vaccine avoiders,

Their “caution” feels almost neurotic, based on little more than the thrill of contrarianism. The “I’m so unique and different” of it all. They seem to want, more than anything else, to show that they’re smarter than the average bear. Like the pompous hipster who says, “You wouldn’t even know the bands I listen to.”


There are those who refuse the vaccine simply because they do not like the current administration. This, I believe, to be little more than pouting, a child holding his breath in the grocery store as a protest for not getting a cookie before checkout.

Yeah, pretty much. See also Greg Sargent, today:

It was only a matter of time until Donald Trump converted the debate over covid-19 vaccines into an occasion for his supporters to show their loyalty to him — and even worse, to the “big lie” that his 2020 loss was illegitimate.

“People are refusing to take the Vaccine because they don’t trust his Administration,” the former president said in a statement Sunday, referring to President Biden. “They don’t trust the Election results, and they certainly don’t trust the Fake News.”

There you have it: Trump is telling his supporters that they are correct not to trust the federal government on vaccines, because this sentiment should flow naturally from their suspicion that the election was stolen from him. Expressing the former has been magically transformed into a way to show fealty to the latter.

Could loyalty to Trump override concern for oneself and one’s family? Sure it could. And it is. I have no doubt.

Also, the avoiders are really big on describing vaccination as a personal decision that isn’t anybody else’s business. Except that their personal decisions in aggregate are keeping the pandemic going. They refuse to consider that their decisions impact other people, and if the pandemic keeps going, they probably think that’s Dr. Fauci’s fault. See, for example, the argument that broke out on Fox News over masks —

Brian Kilmeade thinks people are “choosing” to die? He also insists that “it’s not their [the government’s] job to protect anybody,” which was news to me. Seat belts? Drug safety regulations? Air traffic controllers? Whatever. Kilmeade also doesn’t want to be judged for his decisions, and he doesn’t want anyone else to interfere with how he wants to live his life by making him comply with covid recommendations. Which is kind of rich, since keeping the pandemic going is interfering with all of our lives.

We really could be sailing through this summer with covid mostly behind us, were it not for them. Now we’re going to be very lucky if more, and worse, variants don’t develop. I sincerely wonder if the only thing that would motivate these people to get vaccinated is to step up and say that vaccines are being reserved for reigstered Democrats and no one else can have them. Reverse psychology. It sometimes works on children to get them to eat vegetables (“Oh, that? I made the vegetables jusr for the grown ups. I didn’t think you’d want any.”).

See also Sam Baker, “A Pandemic of the Unvaccinated,” at Axios and Jennifer Rubin, “We’re becoming two Americas: One healthy, one deliberately at risk” at WaPo.

If there were consquences (other than death) for not getting vaccinated, such as not being allowed into stadiums or theaters, maybe people would get vaccinated. But right-wing governors have worked overtime making sure people don’t have to face those consequences. Here’s a glimmer of good news — a court has sided with Norweigian Cruise Lines against Gov. DeSantis and will allow Norweigian to restrict cruises only to vaccinated people.

In other news, Mike Pence’s presidential aspirations are flatlining, which is no surprise whatsoever.

23 thoughts on “What Will We Do About the Unvaccinated?

  1. There's nothing we can do.

    "Joe Biden kept talking about how good of a job he's doing on the distribution of the Vaccine that was developed by Operation Warp Speed or, quite simply, the Trump Administration," the 45th president said in a statement released via his Save America PAC on Sunday. "He's not doing well at all. He's way behind schedule, and people are refusing to take the Vaccine because they don't trust his Administration, they don't trust the Election results, and they certainly don't trust the Fake News, which is refusing to tell the Truth."

    I don't support (nor is anyone suggesting) we strap these people down and force them to get the vax. The courts are upholding the right to refuse service in some case of employment, travel, and education. All of which the right wants to use to inflame the perception of libruls discriminating against real Muricans. 

    I predict they will 'own the libs' with super-spreader events in red states and they'll be enormously successful in killing their own base. 

    I agree with Kilmeade. It's their right. 

    Here's the thing. If we set civil rights aside and forced people to save themselves and we succeeded in ending Covid in the US and save a half-million lives, we could never prove it. If we "won" by preventing incalculable grief, it's grief we can't measure or prove and therefore isn't real. We have to put out the facts, send the national guard to provide medical help, set up portable crematoriums for the bodies. The only way to "prove" stupid is to let stupid happen.

  2. Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog suggested that Biden announce he was going to end all vaccinations in the U.S. in three days–then ship all unused doses to underdeveloped countries with mostly Black and brown populations. He thinks significant numbers of wingnuts would rush to vaccination sites to make sure those people didn't get any. Then "suspend" the foreign distribution plan for one month, rinse and repeat.

  3. I've arrived at the point where I'm sick of the refusers. We're better off without them. 


  4. This libertarian approach to life and citizenship is astoundingly stupid.

    No, you don't have a right to choose to risk your own life and the lives of others. No society has ever recognized such a right, for obvious reasons. Otherwise, we would degenerate into a suicide cult. And those are short-lived, to put it mildly.

    Thinking like this is perhaps the inevitable result of Friedmanesque and Randian influences, so enamored by the modern Right. The first time I read Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), wherein the Court recognized the authority of a state to require vaccination of all citizens, I was struck by how emphatic the Court was in recognizing the duty of the state to protect the health of all of its people. This is an ancient and respected power of government, the protection of the people. Legislation designed to safeguard the welfare of the people is a primary purpose of even having a government. The framers knew well the potential evils of state overreach. They adopted the Bill of Rights in large part to shield citizens of abuse by their government. But nowhere does that document recognize the sort of reckless, selfish idiocy we see trumpeted today by the spoiled babies of the Right.      

    • At this point the unvaxed are a danger to the unvaxed. If you have gotten the vaccine, your risk from others is significantly less than 1%. Agreed, that could change if a mutation develops that ignores the protection of the existing vaccines. But that's hypothetical. 

      Are you willing to take a person who thinks the vaccine is an evil Soros conspiracy, take them into custody by force (police or medical) strap them down, and inject a foreign substance into their body against their will?  

      These people will no more comply with a paper mandate to get a shot than they will turn in their firearms to the police if ordered by the mayor, governor, or president. Not only will they ignore an order, but they will also gin it up into a plot that justifies violent retaliation for the compulsory directive. Who will get ambushed? Cops? Ambulance drivers?  For what gain?

      I'm sorry, but they want liberals to order them to do something their overlords are telling them is part of a scheme that validates violent resistance. I suggest we don't. Until the virus changes the rules, this is a war where only one side will have casualties and only if they ignore science and medicine. 

      • You apparently think that government has no legitimacy, that it must cower in the face of a  pandemic. You make no convincing argument why a government should allow its citizens to infect, and possibly kill, their fellow citizens. Instead, you quake at the thought of government acting rationally because the lunatics might revolt. You do not have any inclination to do anything but cave to the mob.

        We are still learning about COVID while the disease mutates. You have no idea what the actual danger is. But what you ignore is that right now people are dying because no one wants to offend the idiocracy. No one wants to tell them to quit fucking around. People are dying in  Florida, Arkansas, South Dakota, Missouri, and other states, maybe ALL states, because we've grown so insane that we accommodate people who care not a whit about the lives of others. Is this really a hill you want to die on? Maybe literally?

        We emphasize so much how fearful the founders were of tyranny, yet forget how much they recognized that government is necessary because of the violence, venality and corruption humans will resort to if left unchecked. 

        The Constitution is neither a suicide pact nor a libertarian wet dream. Growing up in Massachusetts, I heard how in the early days of World War II, many communities along the Atlantic coast were ordered to put up blackout curtains in order to confound German bombers looking to strike population centers and harbors. No one complained that blacking out the light from their windows was a huge violation of their Constitutional rights. I never heard of anyone saying what is the Freedumb Lover's Lament,  "You can't make me!"

        While you're afraid of frightening the horses, the barn is burning down. Maybe you can break out some marshmallows.

        • You think if you wave a document in their faces they will line up for inoculations? Some lawyers are complete fools thinking reality will conform to the documents they write.

          Oh, you're a tough guy. Having written a document, you're gonna send other people out to enforce your words. Some of whom will be met with force. 

          The fools are the ones paying the price. This is the reality they created for themselves. Let  Karma work it out. Most will live, some will die, but by their own hand. There's no evidence it's gonna cost those with enough sense to get a shot, so let the disease play out among the idiots. Or maybe everything will be hunky-dory, if they are right.

      • Both of you boys settle down, or I will smack you.

        I am inclined to think Doug is right that the refusers want government vaccine mandates to give them an excuse for more insurrection.  

        In any event, jsrtheta, it's my understanding that the federal government has limited powers in public health emergencies. The Jacobson case upheld the authority of state governments to order mandates, but I don't think the feds can do it. And if we leave that up to states, the states with the lowest vaccine rates are the same states least likely to mandate vaccines. 


        • Oh, I think there's a Commerce Clause argument for federal jurisdiction. I admit I haven't sat down and puzzled it out.

          But this situation must be addressed, and I'm not talking about vaccines or the federal government. When people start talking about secession, we are in a serious situation.

  5. Anti-vax = pro-covid. The leaders of the pro-covid cult calculate that 3% mortality is acceptable losses for a loyalty test. They themselves are vaccinated because to them, loyalty is one-way.

    If the covid cultists breed from their voluntary sickness a worse variant, then I'll just get the updated vaccine. Yawn.

    They do this to 'own' the libs? A telling turn of phrase! But how could those would-be Legrees own anyone? They don't even own themselves! For if they did then they'd take better care of themselves.


  6. Suicide is an inefficient method of warfare, and biological warfare is treason against the human species.

    They do it to 'own' the libs; a telling turn of phrase; but these would-be Legrees don't even own themselves. If they did then they would take better care of themselves.

  7. Who cares what we do.  The question assumes the world cares and respects what "we" do. To be a leader "we" need to make a world solution to the COVID affordable.  This is not our forte.  We exploit problems we don't solve them?  Who are we?  We know what Swami said again and again. We hired a big bag of shit as president and we are now…to…the rest of the earth…suspect…and have to live with our errors.  This also is not our forte.  Our redemption is no easy path.  It starts when we admit we are normal humans and screw up.  Making normal human screw-ups is a notion which Agent Orange still cannot admit he has ever done.   

    It was a real Monday for me and I screwed up a lot.

    No excuses.  

    I know I have to accept that I will have worse Mondays as/if I get older.

    I also know that my future has nothing but a few highlights.

    All I want is a future without people exploiting what are my "golden years"… or a political party that propagates bullshit that kills off what few people of my age that are still alive.  

    You please spend, as I have lately, some time trying to convince a 70 year old Vietnam Veteran to get a COVID shot. 

    Get him to fight what he thinks is the "system' that wants to spit on him one more time before he dies.  

    Agent Orange has left him a basket case.  Not the chemical but the politician.

    How do you convince a guy of anything,  especially one that once  thought it was a good idea to jump out of a perfectly functioning airplane for the defense of his country?  

    Yet I can relate to the Republican way of thinking for a short period of time.  He was once an asset we could exploit and now he is a liability we can lead to commit possible, essential style, suicide.  

    The problem I have with this outcome is that my/our later years will be much less golden without him around. 

    I guess only oriental countries respect old people anymore and "thank your for your service" is just a bullshit comment.

    Some old farts are addled, some a bit quirky, but they own wisdom.  This guy has a ton of it. In contrast, Agent Orange is/was a wisdom void.

    How do you convince a Republicans that my friend is not expendable?  He is more a product of Rush Limbaugh than Facebook or Russian allies. He gets trickle down tribe treatment. 

    No moral argumentation, especially any US  moral argumentation, has but weak validity anymore.  We know this  and the world knows this better than we do.

    I will face tomorrow encouraged by the possibility that in my world I can do my golden years better than the the richly endowed Agent Orange. 

    Tough day today and Tuesday might not be golden either, but all I need to do is less damage than the old flag hugger does tomorrow,   I am going for a higher bar.

    Our country's redemption will have to go to future generations as will our national debt.  

    As for doing, or trying to do, that is two different things.  Who can motivate an anti-vaxxer"  Sounds like another US failure.

    But then, how did that War on Poverty turn out?

    We have had a lot of practice at failing.  The earth needs a winning leader.   Not a country who fails and fakes victory or a leader who does the same.  Let's see if we wrestle a loss out of the hands of victory with  this COVID thing.  The world will know if that  rich country fails in spite of their wealth. 

    And if we win, that will just be a baby step toward redemption as a country.  Just one point of light after four years of blackout. Redemption is a slow process. I'll keep trying.  This one seems like a  must win. That would be a step in the right (the real right) direction.

    If anyone knows how to "un-poison" our well please advise.


    • Agent Orange has left him a basket case.  Not the chemical but the politician.

      Don't despair, Bernie. Jesus Christ has a better chance of returning in all his glory than the big bag of shit has in returning in his. He's done. In borrowing a line from MLK that would pertain to seeing Trump being fully punished for his crimes…"I might not get there with you" but, you can rest assured ( the blessed assurance?) that he won't escape the judgment of history. His crimes are now bubbling to the surface like the gases from a corpse buried in a shallow grave. I hope I live long enough to see him in an orange jump suit but, if I don't, or he doesn't, I know he won't get away clean.

      Now, putting on my old philosopher hat. In answer to your query about un-poisoning the well. My belief is that we are all guardians of our own well, and as such we determine the content of the waters. That is the extent of our power. I personally am engulfed in a sea of Trumpsters and severely closed conservative minds, so I hold on to the truth as I see it and don't allow any of their poison to contaminate my well. It's not easy but it dulls the pain of contending with pure stupidity.

  8. Kilmeade: That's not their job, it's not their job to protect anybody!

    …so therefore we should "defund the police"?

    • Some times I think that police (volunteer or paid) has a primary mission statement to harass innocent people.  Much of the time the volunteer cops are the worst. but their are exceptions.   

      What amazes me to this day is how both can ignore obvious crime when they see it and twist reality when they are on an agenda.  Also amazing, is how both types of cops, fiercely ignore their own transgressions.  The rule of law only applies to other people in their world.


    • yes, that's an interesting and meaningful development especially since it's in direct opposition to Trump's most recent rant against administration claims, medical claims, and media reports about the vax.

      When Trump wasn't golfing, he relied on Sean a lot, reportedly communicating daily and  no one was sure if Sean was directing the POTUS. So this was signalling from Sean to Trump to rethink the strategy. Fox may also be getting advice on legal liability – that's pure speculation but if a family who loses grandpa sues Fox because grandpa only trusted Fox for covid advice, the network wants a sample of  'do-the-right-thing' recommendations on file. But I saw the piece and Hannity seemed sincere.

      IMO, Only Trump could turn it around and only be a high-profile and energetic campaign of PSAs that endorse the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, which means actively debunking the disinformation. Any other president of either party would have been there months ago. I'm not optimistic.

  9. OT – I think another shoe will fall.


    This friend of Trump under indictment ran the 2016 inaugural commission. They "spent" 100 million (twice as much as Obama) on half as many balls, and with no big-names headlining any entertainment. Madow, years ago, ran a series questioning where the money went. Months and months passed with no accounting. As it turns out, it's not regulated by the FEC and actual reporting isn't stringent. BUT the #2 with the inaugural commission was Manifort's assistant and he turned state's evidence. But nobody knows how much he knew (or could prove.) One of the Madow segments said Trump was furious he couldn't skim money directly into his accounts.

    Suppose Trump  DID skim money, tens of millions – this is the guy who would have executed the theft and the cover-up. And they have his balls in a vise. 

  10. If another shutdown is looming, meaning the fourth wave gets out of control nationwide, keep and continue the narrative against the anti-vaxxers .that this was their doing.

    The deaths, the suffering the economic blow the shortages are all theirs to own. 

    Lather rinse repeat. 

    If no shutdown is looming, then let the Olympics begin!

    Either way the antis will not get vaccinated.

    If I don't have to hear their lame excuses about why they won't get vaccinated, I consider that a win. 

  11. Unfortunately there's really not much more we can do, other than what's already being done.  As much as the right caterwauls over "vaccine mandates," just like everything else, they've used that to cloak themselves in victimhood, even though no one is being forced to get vaccinated.  Going door to door, urging people to get vaccinated is a far cry from the forced vaccination the right likes to conjure up, and the over the top and inappropriate imagery of being like Jews in Nazi Germany.  They were forced into gas chambers, people are not being forced to take the vaccine.  Just urged, and for good reason.  But these people know that.

    Just putting on my armchair psychology hat for a moment, I believe the reason for all this over the top victimhood is because deep down they know they're wrong, especially when not taking the shot is in the service of some political or ideological goal like MAGA, or just being contrarian, or the child like behavior of not doing something just because you're being asked to do it, and then its "my freedom!"  So in order to push their conscience — to the extent they may be sentient to realize that’s what’s weighing on them, to the background, they cloak themselves in victimhood, something the right is expert at, hence you have Fox pundits giving them what they think is justification for not doing what they know deep down is wrong.  Especially when they personally know people who have either passed away or suffered severely because of having caught the virus while ignoring any precautions.

    Biden is on the right track by continuing to talk publicly about why we need to get vaccinated, that as vaccines go, its safe, and most importantly, it can save lives, including your own.  We need to continue to get real health/medical experts in front of the public to not just talk about the vaccines, but the dangers of the virus replicating itself into even more dangerous variants.

    Beyond this, there's really not much more we can do, other than pray the scales will fall from these people's eyes and they wake up.

  12. I'm vaccinated against covid. I refuse to be vaccinated against recognizing the humanity of my neighbor. I will, however, cull this website from my blogroll.

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