Home world How the world is turning up the heat on the unvaccinated

How the world is turning up the heat on the unvaccinated

Roger Luna, 51, a professional driver suffering from a needle phobia since childhood, says that although the thought of prison leaves him “nervous and stressed”, it hasn’t prompted a change of heart.

“Even when I learned that a lot of my colleagues died from this pandemic, I still didn’t want to be vaccinated,” he told the Telegraph. “I believe I can survive through my own actions… I will hibernate somewhere and not come out until the pandemic ends.”

Rodel Sabile, 54, who works as a caretaker, believes vaccines induce a “zombie-like” status – and this is a greater risk than ending up in jail, he says. His belief has already cost him access to government financial aid and food packages linked to vaccine drives.

“I heard some unvaccinated folks in the [district] were apprehended, their names were listed and officials convinced them to get their vaccine. But I know my rights and will not allow the authorities to dictate to me,” he said.

Singapore: no jab, no healthcare

In Singapore, the government has escalated restrictions on a stubborn minority of residents refusing vaccines, in an effort to protect its “living with Covid” strategy and continue reopening society without risking the healthcare system.

Late last year unvaccinated individuals were banned from dining in restaurants or entering shopping malls, and warned that they would have to pay their own medical bills if they contracted Covid after refusing the jab without a valid reason.

And from January 15, only fully vaccinated employees or those who have recovered from Covid-19 within the past 180 days will be allowed to enter the workplace.

“The intent of these measures has been to disincentivise remaining unvaccinated, and it has worked: over 90 per cent of those aged five or more have been vaccinated in Singapore, and about half have received their booster jab,” said Dr Alex Cook, from Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

But progress on persuading the final few holdouts has slowed. “The number of unvaccinated people is now so low that ‘flipping’ them into the vaccinated group is very difficult,” he told The Telegraph. 

Quebec: health tax for refuseniks

Quebec, Canada has taken a slightly different approach, announcing on Wednesday that it will impose a “health contribution” – in effect a healthcare tax – on unvaccinated residents.

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