It’s with no sense of satisfaction that I note the materialisation of my prediction on the old Cat.
As the lockdowns continue, and the ‘voluntary’ vaccination rates climb, I see the pressure mounting on the hesitant from two different directions. That is, from Governments, in the form of ever louder hints of vaccination apartheid, and from the ever-growing block of vaccinated (and lockdown weary) public, for whom it is seen as a panacea for the government dictates.
Both will increase as the vaccination rate grows towards, and surpasses, what governments see as the mandate level. After that, the hints will become directions, and the pressure will become less perceived, and ever more tangible.
However, from accounts passing my ears, there is a third factor, that I never saw coming, but probably should have. That of the spouse; predominately those who have made a different choice in terms of the vaccine. Extended family, I foresaw, but from these accounts, a particularly insidious phenomenon is in play.
As the prospect of losing one’s job, or not being able to cross state lines (let alone travel internationally) slowly materialises, it would appear that the spectre of emotional blackmail is raising its head in the consent arena.
“Are you really willing to lose your job, and be unable to feed your family, over this ridiculous obsession/principle/fear?”
“I’ll take the kids on holidays without you, is that what you want?”
“Are you really prepared to prevent our child from completing Year 12 by refusing to let him/her get vaccinated?”
“You’re not going to embarrass me by becoming a Covid denier, are you?”
“You have responsibilities, it’s not fair to do this to us as a family over an irrational fear of a vaccine.”
“Get it now while you still have a choice, that way you can still maintain your principles.”
“If you believe it’s just like a bad flu, think of the vaccine as just another flu shot…you’ve had them before.”
All statements (or paraphrases thereof) that I’ve had recounted to me, mostly by men, I’m afraid to say. It’s just the manifestation of fear and uncertainty, I understand, and primal responses are to be expected in such unprecedented times (at least for most of us). I also assume that such conversations are not new to history and imagine similar conversations preceded some pretty bloody awful events and periods in the last century. We are getting a refresher on human (and group) manipulation.
For mine, I am refusing the pressure to get vaccinated precisely for the benefit of my family. I neither fear the vaccine (although I am suspicious of its long term impacts), nor COVID itself. I am, however, absolutely terrified of what follows when governments succeed in being able to dictate (either directly or indirectly) what an individual must do with or to their own body, in the name of the greater good.
Surely it’s the last bastion of individual rights and sovereign territory? Your own body? As I see it, once that fence has been removed, the wolves are free to roam, to hunt, to kill, largely without limits. My children deserve better, and the principle in play is more important than a holiday…perhaps even my job. History has told us that the thirst of such power is rarely slaked by appeasement. The line must be drawn somewhere, and this hill is a good one to die on.
I don’t know what the answer is here, but I do know that the government has already succeeded in pulling this country apart. I suspect they are not far behind in pulling apart, or irreversibly damaging, a large number of families, too.
P.S. It’s interesting to note how few (ie. none) of the spouse statements have to do with health and the direct impacts of COVID, merely potential Government policy and peer pressure.