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Column: Vaccination freeloaders

There was always one. You’ve probably come across such an individual somewhere along life’s varied highway.

There was always one. You’ve probably come across such an individual somewhere along life’s varied highway.

Maybe it was some acquaintance – you could never deem such a fellow an actual friend – who’d always feel a desperate need to use the pub’s washroom whenever his turn for the next round arose.

With such people, there’s always a handy excuse for not doing their fair share or pulling their equal weight. But though we might have been too polite to say the word, we collectively know with whom we were dealing – a freeloader. And we’re near the point in this current vaccination campaign, where a close-up can be had of those Canadians belonging to that rather sad subset of humanity.

Those are folk who let fellow countrymen and women roll up their collective sleeves for a jab of a COVID-fighting vaccine while they stand back, refusing to do the same.

Then, when enough of us have done our collective duty, they’ll happily share the spoils. In this case, the upside won’t be simply another free beer on someone else’s tab, but a return to a life once deemed normal, before we were locked down, masked up and pulled apart by this dreary pandemic.

Now, not everyone yet to get vaccinated should be dismissed in such a surly manner. There are many here in Alberta, for example, who, because of work schedules and family commitments have been unable to make it to an approved vaccination location. That’s why cities and towns across the province should be organizing pop-up clinics and extended hours for folks currently adrift in this particular boat.

Yes, that’s more work for less reward in terms of vaccination numbers, but if it moves the needle – excuse the pun – then that’s what needs to happen, especially in locations away from urban centres with few clinics or pharmacies.

Then there are those who are truly scared of being vaccinated. Maybe it’s a cultural or religious thing or perhaps the endless fear-mongering headlines aided by social media chatter about some vaccine or other causing a nasty reaction has them rattled.

Education might help – explaining that with more than two billion vaccines injected worldwide, the number of people who have subsequently died as a result is so tiny we might as well be discussing global lightning strikes.

But a better way of making inroads into such reluctance is through peer pressure. When you watch friends, family and work colleagues step forward, much of that fear dissipates – hand-holding of both the physical and the emotional sort works wonders.

Ah, and finally we arrive at the third group – anti-vaxxers. Actually, it’s pointless to try and convince this lot to get the jab. They know better than the world’s leading gene sequencers or virologists and can surely point to some fellow somewhere on the internet who’s demonstrated this vaccination lark is actually some Bill Gates or George Soros plot aimed at global dominance. 

Despite how effective vaccination is shown to be, it matters not a jot. Some people would go to their graves – quite literally – rather than ever admit they could be wrong.

Oh well, we’re going to get there anyhow, even without these freeloaders’ help. Yes, they’ll hitch a ride to our wagon but hey, what else can we do?

Actually, Canada has less than its fair share of such folk. That’s why we are now a country with nearly the highest proportion of citizens choosing to get vaccinated. We’re sitting at 71 per cent of our entire population and counting.

It would be nice to announce we’re all in the same boat, of course, but sadly there’ll always be those who’d rather let others do the rowing.




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