Perspectives: Shaming the Unvaccinated

Headline Roundup January 13th, 2022

Twenty-five percent of Americans are unvaccinated against COVID-19. Should they be left alone or called out?

More than 519 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S., fully vaccinating over 207 million people. That leaves tens of millions of eligible Americans who haven't received the vaccine. As of this week, 60% percent of white people and 60% of Hispanic people had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose across 42 states that reported the data, compared to 81% of Asian people and 54% of black people. As of late October, 90% of Democrats reported having received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, compared to 61% of Republicans. The partisan divide is wider on the subject of vaccinating kids — 80% of Democrats say they'll have their adolescents vaccinated, compared to just 25% of Republicans.

Several left-rated voices at major news outlets have advocated for shaming unvaccinated people as a way to encourage vaccination. One Washington Post (Lean Left bias) writer argued that there's "no justifiable excuse for refusing vaccination, which is the only way the pandemic will ever come close to ending." Some left- and center-rated voices spoke out against shaming unvaccinated people, with one writer noting how "low levels of vaccine uptake in some communities is often linked to structural inequalities, including health inequality, and a resulting lack of trust." Right-rated voices have criticized President Joe Biden, left-rated media voices and others for their attempts to shame the unvaccinated, arguing that it's unproductive and baseless since some vaccinated people are still contracting COVID-19.

From the Left

Among all the ways that COVID-19 affects our lives, the pandemic confronts us with a profound moral dilemma:

How should we react to the deaths of the unvaccinated?

On the one hand, a hallmark of civilized thought is the sense that every life is precious.

On the other, those who have deliberately flouted sober medical advice by refusing a vaccine known to reduce the risk of serious disease from the virus, including the risk to others, and end up in the hospital or the grave can be viewed as receiving...

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From the Center

As of this week, federal data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 74.4% of the total population in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. While vaccination coverage has increased, it remains uneven across the country. Amid the current Omicron variant-related surge, unvaccinated people are at particularly increased risk for infection, severe illness, and death. As of January 10, 2022, White people accounted for the largest share (65%) of people who are unvaccinated.1 Over the course of the vaccination rollout, Black and...

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From the Right

The mainstream media has resorted to shaming and insulting unvaccinated Americans as the ongoing COVID pandemic surges, but medical professionals don’t think the "substandard" tactic is appropriate unless the ultimate goal is to further divide the nation. 

A Washington Post columnist on Tuesday praised French President Emmanuel Macron for a series of discouraging remarks he made about the unvaccinated, urging readers globally to make life a "living hell" for those who choose to forego the vaccine. The opinion column titled "Macron is right: It’s time to make life a living hell for anti-vaxxers," was the latest example...

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