3.7 million suddenly decided to get vaccinated in France after President Macron announced measures that do not mandate vaccination, but requires it for access to most indoor public venues https://t.co/pklIcTOsAT
— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) July 24, 2021
As the Delta variant is spreading, discussions about mandatory vaccinations are on the rise—but maybe there is an easy way to avoid forcing folks to get their shots.
Why don’t we just force everyone to get vaccinated and return to our normal lives?
What sounds like common sense is not possible for several good reasons. It starts with the question of what that would practically look like.
Imagine squads of vaccinators driving through cities, breaking into people’s homes, and vaccinating them against their will—I think we can all agree that nobody wants to see that. If we had mandatory vaccinations, it wouldn’t take long for folks to file lawsuits against that and start a discussion about legalities that could go on for years—and nobody has time for that.
Maybe it is time to acknowledge that governments can’t solve this problem on their own, but they can help us to get everyone vaccinated without even mandating it.
Let’s take a look at France. After Emmanuel Macron announced that only vaccinated folks will be allowed at indoor venues, 3,7 million French citizens spontaneously decided to get vaccinated. There is no mandate, but it is obvious that only those who are vaccinated will be able to enjoy indoor restaurants.
Of course, there are protests against that drastic step, and I feel that this might not be the best solution, but it gives us an idea of how to get folks vaccinated without forcing anyone.
Here are two steps that need to be taken to get our freedom back without mandatory vaccinations:
1. Digital vaccination certificates.
Once we are vaccinated, we need a valid certificate that can be used to access indoor restaurants, gyms, or large gatherings. As most of us know from high school, there will always be a danger of folks faking their status.
The European Union found a way to create digital vaccination certificates that can’t be faked. After I got my vaccine, I went to my local pharmacy and showed them my proof of vaccination. Less than 10 minutes later, I received a QR-code with all my vaccination records on it. All I had to do was enter that code into my tracking app and wait for 15 days (the time until the vaccine actually protects me).
By now, I am the proud owner of a digital vaccination certificate that I can present at any venue I want to visit—what a convenience.
2. Let the economy solve it.
The government can’t solve every problem on its own, and as explained, there is no way democracies can force their citizens to get vaccinated against their will—but what about free markets finding a solution?
When I studied Economics in university, I remember all the talks about free markets and the invisible hand being better at securing our prosperity—let’s apply this now. There is no need for laws to get vaccinated if the markets do what they are supposed to do.
Netflix just announced that everyone involved in any production needs to be vaccinated in the near future. The NFL announced that players need to get vaccinated or accept that every canceled game will be counted as a lost game.
Things could be so easy if big corporations just did the right thing. What would happen if McDonald’s announces tomorrow that only vaccinated folks will be allowed to enter restaurants? How about Walmart? I am pretty sure that folks would immediately choose to get vaccinated—just out of convenience.
My main reason to get vaccinated was the hope that I will be allowed to do things I had been missing for almost two years. I want to play concerts without putting anyone at risk, I want to go to the stadium and see my beloved football team play, and I want to teach and take yoga classes at real yoga studios.
Once folks realize that they will get something out of it, most of them will forget about the bullsh*t they read online that convinced them to reject the vaccine. That’s how humans (unfortunately) work—if there is something in it for us, we are happy to do almost anything.
I heard that folks like to travel, so what about airlines mandating vaccinations for everyone who wants to board a plane? What about clubs deciding to only allow guests who are fully vaccinated?
If someone decided not to get vaccinated, that’s fine with me, but I am not willing to miss out on my life because of them. I took the decision to get vaccinated; why would I not go to my favorite place with my (vaccinated) friends and have a good time?
It doesn’t take away anything from unvaccinated folks.
Simply dropping our masks, opening all places, and relying on thoughts and prayers won’t make the virus go away. Keeping everything closed and discussing mandatory vaccinations is also not acceptable after 18 months of lockdowns.
So let’s find a middle ground and allow everyone who is vaccinated to enjoy their lives again—once the unvaccinated see us having fun again, they will quickly change their mind.
Normally, I am not a fan of any of these three things, but let’s use jealousy, fear of missing out, and the invisible hands of the markets for something good.