Jennifer O’Connell: Monstering the unvaccinated is satisfying but not helpful

Misplaced fear and distrust of authority must be addressed in clear Covid messaging

The unvaccinated serve as lightning rods for frustrations about a health service in danger of collapse, fears about the new variant, worries about restrictions or dismay at small children in masks all day. Photograph: Alan Betson

The unvaccinated serve as lightning rods for frustrations about a health service in danger of collapse, fears about the new variant, worries about restrictions or dismay at small children in masks all day. Photograph: Alan Betson

Around the world, people are gunning for the unvaccinated. “You have a right to choose,” Australian senator Jacqui Lambie said in a rousing speech that went viral and inspired a TikTok craze recently. “You choose to put other people’s lives at risk, and you will be held accountable for that choice . . . Being held accountable for your own actions isn’t called discrimination. It’s called being,” she roared, her voice rising into a furious crescendo appropriate for someone who spent 10 years in the army, “a goddamn bloody adult.”

Angela Merkel’s husband Joachim Sauer, a quantum chemist, is generally less fond of publicity than Lambie. But his fury at the unvaccinated recently got too much to hold in. “It is astonishing that a third of the population does not follow scientific findings. In part, this is due to a certain laziness and complacency of Germans,” he told an Italian newspaper.

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