Evidence Isn’t Going to Persuade Anti-vaxers

Hesitancy is a complex phenomenon largely immune to facts.

Harvard Medical School researchers Anupam B. Jena and Christopher M. Worsham take to the op-ed pages of the NYT to argue “Facts Alone Aren’t Going to Win Over the Unvaccinated. This Might.” The first part is more illuminating than the second.

In a study published on Dec. 13, we examined data from about 750,000 children who were eligible to receive the human papilloma virus vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Since the HPV vaccine was approved in 2006, it has experienced resistance from parents and religious and conservative groups who see it as promoting sexual behavior. Its politicization was a preview for what has happened with the coronavirus vaccines in the United States.

Our research question was: Are mothers who themselves had cervical cancer more likely to have their children vaccinated against HPV? We thought that for this group of mothers, a lack of information about the consequences of HPV couldn’t possibly affect their decision to vaccinate their children against the virus. These women had personally suffered from cervical cancer, so, presumably, they would be especially well informed about the harms of this virus and the disease it causes.

What we found surprised us: The girls and boys whose mothers had cervical cancer were no more likely to be vaccinated against HPV compared with children whose mothers had no history of cervical disease. Children whose mothers had a cancer “scare” — a biopsy of cervical cells that ended up not being cancerous — were only slightly more likely to be vaccinated. But having cervical cancer or a cervical cancer scare did not result in the large increase in vaccination rates that we were expecting.

Motivations behind vaccination decisions are complex; they vary from disease to disease and across time, social groups, culture and geography. But if personally having cervical cancer doesn’t seem to motivate mothers to vaccinate their children against HPV, we probably shouldn’t be surprised when hesitant Americans are not motivated to get vaccinated after a family member is hospitalized or even dies from Covid-19. Emergency room doctors sharing devastating stories from the hospital may, unfortunately, not meaningfully impact vaccination rates.

The linked paper on vaccine hesitancy is from 2015, which helpfully eliminates any effect from the politicization of this particular vaccination by former President Trump and the right-wing media complex. The top-level conclusion:

While high levels of hesitancy lead to low vaccine demand, low levels of hesitancy do not necessarily mean high vaccine demand. The Vaccine Hesitancy Determinants Matrix displays the factors influencing the behavioral decision to accept, delay or reject some or all vaccines under three categories: contextual, individual and group, and vaccine/vaccination-specific influences.

Back to Jena and Worsham:

Our past research has also shown that more information often isn’t enough to change behavior. A classic example is doctors who struggle to follow the same medical advice that they give to patients. Despite doctors’ extensive training and access to medical information, as a group, they are barely better than patients at sticking to recommendations for improving their health. This includes vaccinations. Rates of chickenpox vaccination among doctors’ children, for example, are not meaningfully different from the rates among children whose parents are not doctors. While most parents vaccinate their children against chickenpox, you would expect the rates among doctors’ families to be especially high.

While oft-deployed, it’s rather a stunning bit of confirmation. Few are better informed about the consequences of poor health choices than physicians and yet then nonetheless often make poor health choices. Because, well, they’re people. (Anecdotally, the problem is even worse with nurses, who have nearly as much knowledge on the matter as physicians but, for example, seem quite often to be morbidly obese.)

Alas, after that useful setup, the payoff is rather a dud:

While small positive incentives such as free doughnuts or entries into statewide lottery programs may have motivated some people, those and similar methods don’t seem to motivate people to get vaccinated on a scale large enough to close the vaccination gap.

The incentive that seems to work especially well is the employer vaccine mandate, a negative incentive. “Get vaccinated or get fired” has shown to be an effective message. United Airlines, which mandated the coronavirus vaccination for its employees this past summer, reported in November that 100 percent of their customer-facing employees were vaccinated, and that only about 200 of their 67,000 employees had chosen termination over vaccination. Similar stories have played out among private and public sector employers that enforce mandates, with vaccination rates approaching 100 percent (including at our own hospital).

By now, it’s clear that the public health system does not know how to change people’s beliefs about vaccines. Until we do, America’s leaders should focus on other strategies, especially the ones we already know are effective.

So, essentially, we’re never going to be able to convince people to get vaccines of their own volition so we need to coerce them. This is incredibly harsh but essentially what I’ve been saying for months now. It’s what we’ve done for most vaccines: they’re simply not optional for those who want to send their kids to school and otherwise participate in the community.

It’s a rather unsatisfying conclusion.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, COVID-19, Society
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jen says:

    Alas, after that useful setup, the payoff is rather a dud:

    I read this piece yesterday and had the same reaction. That’s it? Meh.

    As a communicator trying to figure out what might work, I’ve tried to pinpoint my own proactive approach to vaccination and cannot. Is it my personality? Maybe. Is it because I lived overseas as a child and saw the ramifications of a lack of vaccination on communities? Maybe. Am I just highly attuned to recommendations from experts? Maybe.

    I’ve about given up. If my own BIL refuses to take steps that would protect his own mother (medically fragile, pacemaker, asthma), there’s something else at work in the vaccine-resistant.

    4
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: They think they’re better than the rest of us? That’s what their politicos say.

    2
  3. CSK says:

    @Jen: @OzarkHillbilly:
    For some of them, it’s just sheer perversity; the joy of owning the libs by refusing to do what the libs recommend. For others–as the photo JJ used to illustrates this post shows–it’s a genuine (I think) belief that these vaccines are intended to kill off people, particularly patriotic, God-fearing Americans.

    5
  4. gVOR08 says:

    NYT has a column about the danger posed by conservative lower court judges. IIRC (and there’s so much news about courts and mandates I’d never be able to find it again) a GOP judge stayed a vaccine mandate and wrote into his opinion that requiring a booster showed vaccines don’t work. WTF? Are personal opinions supposed to appear in legal opinions? How dumb can you be and still be appointed as a judge by Republicans? Is being innumerate a prerequisite for conservatism?

    Vaccine mandates are the way out of COVID and the GOP death cult won’t allow mandates. We’re doomed.

    5
  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    “…we’re never going to be able to convince people to get vaccines of their own volition…”

    This phenomenon is not new, and it’s not limited to vaccines. The problem is that these people come to their position not from facts but from emotion. And you just cannot argue, or convince, emotion. Emotion is impervious to fact.

    4
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Man at the Pearly Gates to St Pete: “But God was supposed to save me!”

    St Pete: “First, we sent you the Pfizer vax but you said, “God will save me.”
    Then we sent you the J&J vax but again you said, “God will save me.”
    Then we sent you the Moderna vax and again you said, “God will save me.”
    What were you waiting for? For him to reach down and touch you with his Godly finger and heal you???”

    4
  7. Kathy says:

    I really can’t comprehend the problem here. For me, it’s very simple: get all the vaccines you can.

    I’m not someone who’s particularly mindful of health, but vaccines are the most effective means to avoid infectious diseases, and the risks are tiny.

    Other than people with medical conditions, like allergies and immune problems, no one should be “hesitant.” Particularly not when a deadly virus is circulating widely, and you’re likely to be infected with it.

    As to COVID vaccines, the evidence is overwhelming. Every argument against taking them is refuted by literally billions of pieces of evidence. At best these arguments might persuade a razonable person not to volunteer for a vaccine trial, when the risks and efficacy are unknown. I can see that. but once the evidence is in, there’s no rational holdup.

    5
  8. Michael Reynolds says:

    As a needle-phobic I suspect a surprising amount of this is simply fear of needles. I get my shots – flu every year, and Moderna three ways – but it’s not easy. And because it’s hard for me, it was always hard to drag the kids in for shots. Let’s face it, the whole thing is miserable. I hate it, lots of people hate it.

    Peer pressure (wife) helps keep me on-track. But the biggest thing is simple logic. I refuse to be sick because I can’t overcome my irrational phobia. That, in the immortal words of Mr. Spock, would be illogical.

    5
  9. Scott F. says:

    I’m finding myself less and less interested in finding ways to convince anti-vaxxers to get the jab. If they want to risk their own deaths, they can have it.

    I think it would be better to focus on ways to isolate these people from the vaccinated and to provide relief to overwhelmed hospitals. We could move to vaccination passports for all public activities and health insurers denying coverage.

    9
  10. James Joyner says:

    @Scott F.:

    We could move to vaccination passports for all public activities and health insurers denying coverage.

    While I support vaccine passports in theory they’re unworkable in practice. Some poor, underpaid schmoe is going to have to check the passports and deny entry to those who refuse to show or lack a valid passport. Said schmoes will be subject to constant abuse, if not assault or worse. It’s pretty damned untenable.

    8
  11. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    When I was a little kid, I saw so many other little kids screaming and throwing fits when a nurse tried to administer a polio shot that I immediately decided I was going to be brave and stoic about the procedure.

    That’s always worked for me except last September when a nurse (who clearly missed class the day the instructor demonstrated proper I.V. insertion techniques) jabbed the back of my right hand. I screamed, perhaps not at the top of my lungs, but close. Someone else took over, thank God. My hand was black and blue for days thereafter.

    2
  12. Jen says:

    Vaccine passports seem to work well in a handful of situations, such as needing proof of vaccination to enter a country–there’s significant force behind that. If you can’t produce evidence of the vaccination, they can put you on the next plane out of there, regardless of where it’s headed.

    They also seemed to used to work fairly well at schools, where parents had to produce vaccination records or the kid would get sent home.

    I don’t think that as a broad policy they will work, however. Unfortunately. There’s just no equivalent penalty to getting slapped on the next plane to nowhere.

    2
  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:

    When I was a little kid, I saw so many other little kids screaming and throwing fits

    I was that screaming child. The story is that it took five people – my mother, the doctor, and the doctor’s staff – to hold me down for a polio shot. And I still bent the needle.

    Glad I could be an inspiration?

    1
  14. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I thank you–and so do legions of unbitten, unscratched, unpunched, and unkicked doctors and nurses.

  15. @Michael Reynolds: When in doubt, always be Mr. Spock.

    4
  16. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Death is an irrefutable argument. For the die-hards who reject all evidence about the benefits of vaccination, the Grim Reaper may convince them. Not that it will do them any good, but at least it has benefits for the gene pool.

    2
  17. Looking at HPV was a smart research question and does underscore the way in which people do not make decisions on straight-forward, rational risk/reward. It is both amazing and yet unsurprising that a lot of people are worried more about potential sexual activity than they are about possible cancer (not to mention the absurdity of the notion that the deciding factor for a given human to have sex or not to have sex is whether or not they had the HPV vaccine).

    And yes: vaccine requirements are the way to go–and the way we have normalized other vaccines, with polio being the best example because there was resistance to that one as well. Now? Meh.

    8
  18. Argon says:

    The veneer of civilization is thin and the paint from the Age of Enlightenment is not even close to dry.

    Human evolution only enabled the possibility of rational thought. It’s not a necessary outcome.

    4
  19. Pylon says:

    Vaccine passports work most of the time. There’s relatively few cases of employee abuse. But the more effective coercion is via employment requirement. It’s one thing to rage at a kid at the cinema. It’s another to try that crap at work.

    7
  20. Argon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “And yes: vaccine requirements are the way to go–and the way we have normalized other vaccines, with polio being the best example because there was resistance to that one as well. Now? Meh.”

    All it takes is one Kennedy (Robert, Jr) to undo the work of a thousand informed experts. As Terry Pratchett wrote: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And we have a class of politicians happy to calculate the cost of mandates exclusively by the number of votes they’ll gain are lose.

    1
  21. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ll refrain from describing the procedure I got for an MRI with contrast. 😀

    Anecdote:

    I rent out my spare bedroom (I can use the cash). I never thought to ask my latest lodger if he’s vaccinated. He’s not. When I asked him about it, his response was “Yeah… I suppose I should do that. My sisters keep nagging me, too.”

    I replied with a little logic (if he gets it, I’m out of work for 2 weeks quarantining and I can’t visit my 90-year-old mother who relies on me to take her shopping), and backed it up with an incentive (a significant discount on the rent the month he shows me proof of the jab).

    He’s not “anti-vax”, he’s somehow “just not gotten around to it”. I’m thinking there may be a fear of needles or doctors in there (he also doesn’t go to the dentist, but is obsessive about cleaning his teeth).

    (He’s weird)

    4
  22. Jen says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Even more absurd is the fact that HPV is an extremely common virus–it’s basically the common cold of sex, and can be transmitted through what used to be called “heavy petting.” And, it can hang around in the body for years.

    Australia mandated the vaccination for boys and girls and is now on track to *eliminate* cervical cancer.

    A friend of mine who is a nurse and deeply Christian says that she just does not understand why a parent would choose to roll the dice with their child developing cancer (HPV leads to different cancers in men).

    2
  23. JKB says:

    This is still true today as it was 6 months ago. The vaccines do not stop you from getting the virus. Do not stop you from transmitting the virus. There is still evidence that it reduces the risk of severe COVID in individuals who are at risk of severe COVID: the elderly, the morbidly obese, being the most at risk.

    On the other hand in the young and healthy, non-obese, the vaccines present a serious risk of myocarditis or pericarditis. These risks might be lessened if the public health officials mandated aspiration before injection of the vaccine to ensure the injection is not going into a blood vessel, but so far US public health officials refuse to mandate this small change in injection procedures. Odd since this aspiration mandate would apply to trained professionals and represent NO risk to anyone if later found to be ineffective. A comparison of heart inflammation after vaccine between non-aspirating Norway and aspirating Denmark showed a 300% higher incidence in Norway than in Denmark.

    But, let’s keep the vaccine zwangswirtschaft (compulsory economy) of the German pattern of socialism because of the delusion that the vaccines stop infections and transmission.

    1
  24. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Jen:

    Cervical cancer isn’t the only thing HPV causes. It can do some nasty things to boys, too. I wonder how many fathers would insist on their sons getting the vaccine if they knew it causes impotence (and worse).

    3
  25. Scott F. says:

    @James Joyner:
    Vaccination passports are a lousy solution among a multitude of lousy solutions. I just thought them an easier sell than large scale quarantine camps.

    But, your OP makes clear winning over the unvaccinated is a dead end, so I‘d still like to see a change in tactics. I want these people kept away from me and mine. And I want front line workers protected from the bad decisions of others. I‘m open to any tactics that will do that.

    4
  26. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Yep, that’s exactly what my nurse friend was getting at. She’d seen several of these cancers in men and despite living in the deep South where the opposition to this vaccine is VERY faith-based (and directed at girls), she is an ardent supporter of getting kids vaccinated for HPV.

    1
  27. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: You’ve definitely demonstrated that no matter what evidence is presented that you’re wrong you will refuse to believe it.

    I also suspect that if you get Covid-19 and you won’t have the guts to live with the consequences of your decision. And will whine like hell unless you get gold-plated medical treatment that you insist someone else pay for.

    In short, you have the mentality of a spoilt toddler.

    13
  28. CSK says:

    There’s an article in The Federalist today by one Kylee Zempel entitled “The White House’s Vaccine Threats Aren’t to Keep You Safe. They’re to Keep You in Line.”

    Sigh.

    I’m not bothering to read it, since I’m already fairly sure what it says, but the responses to it over on Lucianne.com pretty much boil down to: “This is a communist plot to steal the next election.”

    1
  29. Jen says:

    @JKB: You repeatedly come here and drop this nonsense.

    1.) Vaccinations DO prevent you from getting the virus, they just aren’t 100%. (Anecdote: my hair stylist is fully vaccinated. Her son, who was too young to be vaccinated when school started almost immediately caught covid at the beginning of the school year. Despite staying home to care for him until he was cleared to return to school, she never once even tested positive during the entire course of his illness.) Now, anecdotes are not data, I know this. But YES THEY ARE EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING CONTRACTING COVID.

    2.) If you are vaccinated and DO contract covid–which is a possibility because vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing disease–can you spread covid? Well, yes, BUT…you are not as contagious because the viral load is lower. Net? Yes, you might spread covid but the unvaccinated are far more likely to spread covid for a longer period during their illness.

    3.) “On the other hand in the young and healthy, non-obese, the vaccines present a serious risk of myocarditis or pericarditis.” This is exceedingly rare and is certainly far rarer than the multiple conditions that are caused BY covid infections.

    The misinformation you routinely bring here and dump into this forum is dangerous. Thankfully no one here listens.

    24
  30. Jen says:

    JKB’s comment is proof of the title of this post. It’s a neat little circular package of confirmation.

    13
  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    I’m still waiting to hear your explanation for the fact that Trump got the booster.

    Is he a fool? Is he falling for propaganda? Eh? Hello?

    This is how fuk’n dumb you are. Your cult leader doesn’t want to die so he gets the booster. Now, squeeze your brain real hard and see if you can figure out what that means for how he rates the importance of your life.

    10
  32. Joe says:

    @CSK:

    When I was a little kid, I saw so many other little kids screaming and throwing fits

    This brings to mind, CSK and Michael, a favorite picture of two of my kids when my then 12-year-old daughter insisted that my then 14-year-old son hold her hand while she got her shot (probably HPV, BTW) so that she wouldn’t cry.

    2
  33. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @JKB:

    On the other hand in the young and healthy, non-obese, the vaccines present a serious risk of myocarditis or pericarditis

    Where’s the data, brainiac?
    Here – let me help you.

    Among those who had received the Pfizer vaccine, the researchers noted, the rate of myocarditis or myopericarditis was 1.4 cases per 100,000 individuals

    1.4 in 100K…that sure is a SERIOUS risk.
    You should buy a dog and name it CLUE. Then you would have one.

    6
  34. mattbernius says:

    Came here expecting to see at least one commenter’s response prove the headline right.

    Was not disappointed.

    9
  35. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    “While I support vaccine passports in theory they’re unworkable in practice. Some poor, underpaid schmoe is going to have to check the passports and deny entry to those who refuse to show or lack a valid passport. Said schmoes will be subject to constant abuse, if not assault or worse. It’s pretty damned untenable.”

    In other words, we can’t have nice things because of the stronger version of the heckler’s veto.

    3
  36. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    Did you ever consider maybe JKB likes the blood on their hands?

    1
  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @James Joyner:

    While I tend to agree with you that vax passports are unworkable, we will soon see how that plays out. Boston, NYC and SF have all issued orders requiring some sort of proof of vax or negative test to enter restaurants, arenas, theaters etc. The Boston order was announced just as omicron burst on the scene and bars/restaurants had began losing staff to the illness. Reportedly many restaurant owners are supportive as they hope to protect their staff and business, as there has been a large drop off in reservations due to omicron.

    Since we will be with our extended family Friday, we’ve refrained from going anywhere since last week. Normally I’d have gone to lunch at a local sandwich shop and probable gone for coffee and another small coffeehouse. If we knew that other’s dining were vaxxed or negative, we’d even feel ok with returning to our old habits of dining out. But we don’t.

    Something has to give, and it is beyond time for the MUH FREEDUMB crowd to have a cost for their entitlement.

    3
  38. Mister Bluster says:

    Trust in god not vaccines.

    I sure hope that all the pro vaccine god believers out there are doing their best to proselytize their anti vaccine god believer brethren.
    Ya’ll worship the same god or so I’ve been told.

    2
  39. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    I know I was afraid of needles growing up, because I vividly recall hiding in the closet to avoid being given a shot. But I can’t recall being afraid of needles at all, ever. Half the time when I get a shot or have blood drawn I even watch.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    Some poor, underpaid schmoe is going to have to check the passports and deny entry to those who refuse to show or lack a valid passport. Said schmoes will be subject to constant abuse, if not assault or worse.

    I have no experience with vax passports. What you say is certainly true of mask mandates. And another example of our treatment of “essential” and “frontline” workers. FL had mask mandates, but they were either local or company imposed. Walmart was acting as the Department of Health. And our God…… blessed guv DeUseless was busy banning local mandates. That leaves the teenager at the door backed up by maybe his store manager. Sure, the manager could call the cops, but in FL the cop is going to be a MAGAt with no clear direction fron his bosses. Had the State backed the mandates, the cops would be the backup for the kid at the door.

    I don’t know how NY’s passports are working out. I suspect it’s largely a question of whether business owners and venue managers support it, but more a matter of whether the police will backup enforcement.

    I suspect a national passport system, supported by the states, would work fairly well. But I also know Biden would be reluctant to do such a thing and the Federalist Society would oppose it. As for me, I’m OK with vaxxing the reluctant at bayonet point. Public health is public health. Only a truly degraded Party would oppose it.

    2
  41. grumpy realist says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Same here in Chicago, starting Jan. 3rd. To all those who protest that this is ridiculous overkill, take a look at the number of COVID-19 cases that have just been reported in Illinois. We’re skyrocketing.

    Yes, we’re crossing fingers and hoping that the severity of the cases will be much lower, mainly because we’ve only got 4% capacity in our ICU units at present. However…..may I point out that even if the new variant is 50% less serious than previous strains, that still will run over your medical capabilities like an eighteen-wheeler if communicability of the disease has ramped up over 300%.

    (Just got boosted yesterday evening. Effects so far have been a sore arm and a slightly stiff neck.)

    2
  42. @mattbernius: Indeed. Sigh.

    1
  43. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m still waiting to hear your explanation for the fact that Trump got the booster.

    The explanation is right there in JKB’s claim that “There is still evidence that it reduces the risk of severe COVID in individuals who are at risk of severe COVID: the elderly, the morbidly obese, being the most at risk.” It’s a notable sentence as it is the only one that is factually correct, even if it is overly limited.

    Trump is an old, fat man.

    5
  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Speaking only for myself as an adult, the only vaccinations that I have ever taken other than mandated Covid-19 were because my doctor said, “go to the nurse’s station (vaccination department in Korea) and get this shot on your way out the door.” I have no needle phobia–I gave myself allergy injections (3 per session) for about 8 or 10 years. I’m probably a “bad citizen,” but I do mask and socially distance (with great delight because I don’t really like too many people and have a huge personal space zone). Still, the combination of not developing the habit of taking flu shots (because of the previously mentioned allergies) and the “it’s easy–just drop in at the pharmacy” aspect of getting routine injections seems problematical for me.

    Maybe it’s conditioning. Maybe it’s misanthropy. Maybe I don’t want to stand in a line of 15 or 20 people waiting to get prescriptions filled at a pharmacy that I don’t ordinarily go to and be told “our person who gives shots is out to lunch now, come back in an hour” (and stand in line behind 2o people again). No, the last has never happened, but only because I haven’t given it a chance to. The point is that I will always choose “tomorrow” as the day to do “just drop in” injections. And we all know what they say about tomorrow.

  45. James Joyner says:

    @Moosebreath: @gVOR08: @Sleeping Dog: I embraced the idea of vaccine passports the moment I first read about them. But I do fear that enforcement will lead to violence, as it has with masking. We’ve had people check ID to see R-rated movies or buy buy and cigarettes for generations. But, alas, COVID measures have been politicized in a rabid way.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I’ve had appointments for all of mine and the family’s. I got my first two Moderna jabs courtesy Uncle Sam and the rest have been at various CVS, Walgreens, and other locales. But it was pretty easy and I’m not a patient man, especially if I have an appointment.

    2
  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    ” Some poor, underpaid schmoe is going to have to check the passports and deny entry to those who refuse to show or lack a valid passport. Said schmoes will be subject to constant abuse, if not assault or worse. It’s pretty damned untenable.”

    Easy fix: hire people experienced at being bouncers–they’re used to the abuse; then, DON’T MAKE THAT AN “UNDERPAID” POSITION IN YOUR SALARY SCHEDULE.

    1
  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JKB: What? No quote from 1920’s Weimar economists today? Just a vague Nazi reference? Your game is slipping.

    3
  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner: Alas, I asked about an appointment and was told they weren’t making them at the chain pharmacies, but I’ll try again tomorrow. 😉

    1
  49. Michael Cain says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And yes: vaccine requirements are the way to go–and the way we have normalized other vaccines, with polio being the best example because there was resistance to that one as well. Now? Meh.

    Did we ever impose a polio vaccine requirement on adults? It was readily available, what with drives and all, but was it required? For kids, where we paired it with the requirement that they attend school, yes. My vague recollection is that we just let the older people who refused the vaccine age out of the population. Of course, polio was already endemic at the time. Most of the adults who got the vaccine had probably been infected and recovered.

    1
  50. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I give myself a shot once a week. And every week I think to myself that this will be the week when I just jam it and plunger it like a professional. And every week I stick it in as slowly as possible while mentally screaming at myself to go faster.

    Sometimes if I’m lucky I get a little fountain of blood for my efforts.

    As for the vaccine passports, why are we allowing the bad actors to define the terms of our social contract. We know exactly how to get this to a point where the virus is manageable. We’re just letting the idiots call the tune. I’m all for what they are doing here in Chicago. I wish they would make it stricter. I’m all for bigger sticks at this point.

    4
  51. Not the IT Dept. says:

    My Canadian brother-in-law had someone like this in his company’s head office; very much a “you can’t tell me what to do!!!” type. Company had set a deadline and was terminating employment for those who refused to get the jab.

    He finally came around when one of his peers (not a boss, note!) sat him down and asked him how he was expecting to get another job in their related-to-healthcare field without being vaccinated. Colleague mulled it over for a few hours and agreed to get jabbed; got both of them done in the fall and has an appointment for a booster in late January. He still has the same attitude but now he can blame the company for it, and it’s just one of the stupid things you have to do in this crazy world, whadda ya gonna do, huh?

    Being forced was better for him in some strange way than changing his mind.

    5
  52. flat earth luddite says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Did we ever impose a polio vaccine requirement on adults? It was readily available, what with drives and all, but was it required?

    I don’t know about requirement for adults, as I was one of the kids sent in to get his shot (and then a short while later to get my sugar cube – Grandma wasn’t messing around.) That being said, her generation all knew people who were sick or died from Polio. She used herself as an example of why they were inoculating the kiddies. (She contracted it at 17 while preggers and used crutches her entire adult life until she graduated to a walker in her late 70’s). As always, YMMV.

    4
  53. dazedandconfused says:

    @gVOR08:
    Doomed, yes, but to what?

    The vaxed are protected from serious disease, but not infection. Seems at some point the way to go is to say “Everybody has access to the vaccine, so the time to end the damage to the economy has come. Everybody, masks off, and gather as much as possible. It is becoming increasingly unwise and damaging to compromise the economy to cater to those who refuse the vax. Hospitals will have a bad time for awhile, but at last there will be an end.”

    I believe this would cause many of the reluctant to get vaxed, and for the rest the disease itself, for the survivors, thereby becomes the “mandated” vax.

    The probable default result whether or not the government officially adopts it as policy. We are IMO doomed to this but as dooms go it’s far from mass extinction. We are continually damaging the economy to protect…whom? Not the vaxed, they are not at risk of serious disease. Must be the unvaxed.

    Eff em’.

  54. Kathy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    It’s rather easy to grow cruel on people because they are putting others at risk, and seem to be rooting for SARS-CoV-2 supremacy.

    I’m sorry, I should say why this is a problem, but I can’t think of a reason why just now. It seemed to me that I had, but then my train of thought left the station without me in it.

    2
  55. James Joyner says:

    @dazedandconfused: @Kathy: The problem is that breakthrough infections are very much a thing, especially with Omicron. We’re going to end of killing Elizabeth Warren over this.

  56. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kathy: There is real cruelty in how this has affected the economy too. In a park where I walk my dog we have a new homeless camp. One consisting of people who are trying to form their own, banning the people with drug and psychological issues. Remarkable how young most of them are.

    At some point…

  57. Kathy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    As I said, I can’t think of a reason to lift a finger to help anyone who refuses to get vaccinated.

  58. Jen says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    The vaxed are protected from serious disease, but not infection.

    This isn’t technically accurate. Vaccination does protect against infection, but not perfectly, and that protection wanes significantly after 6 months of a 2-dose regimen. Vaccination is also significantly protective against serious disease, but again, is not perfect. People who have underlying health challenges (cancer, autoimmune disease) are especially vulnerable to serious breakthrough infections–despite being fully vaccinated–that can lead to severe illness or death. Boosters offer significant increased protection.

  59. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner:

    I embraced the idea of vaccine passports the moment I first read about them. But I do fear that enforcement will lead to violence, as it has with masking.

    Then there’s nothing to be done other than give up on society.

    Can we have an aggressive asshole’s veto on every policy and interaction?

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  60. dazedandconfused says:

    @Jen:
    If we are going to nit-pick, it’s not technically correct to imply the protection afforded by the vaccines against serious disease and infection are about equal either.

  61. Kathy says:

    @James Joyner:

    To be clear, I don’t favor dropping all precautions and mitigation measures, even if that would help economically (though much of the world’s economy is pretty much open by now). To be honest, I can’t see myself going to a movie for the next year or two, even if they get Patty Jenkins to do Zahn’s classic Thrwan trilogy, or even to a restaurant for about as long. I doubt I’ll even tour nearby archaeological sites next year.

    No matter how many boosters I get between now and then.

    I should get some more masks, though.

  62. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Beth:
    I do Trulicity weekly, it comes in epi-pen form. I did it twice myself just to prove I’m all manly and so on, every other time it’s been my wife, generally with me sucking on whiskey.

    1
  63. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    “But I do fear that enforcement will lead to violence, as it has with masking.”

    If enforcement of all laws is ignored because the people who don’t like them threaten violence, then we have returned to the days of barbarism.

    5
  64. steve says:

    In case you haven’t seen this, here is how hospitals feel. Late in the day but FTR I dont think it is possible to change the minds of the huge majority of anti-vaxxers. Waste of time to try.

    https://www.today.com/health/health/ohio-hospitals-take-newspaper-ad-urging-vaccinations-rcna9351

    Steve

    1
  65. Kathy says:

    @Moosebreath:

    You’re right.

    But there’s a big difference between trained and armed police enforcing the law, and untrained, unarmed employees enforcing rules the crazies find unpopular.

    If you had a cop rather than a flight attendant on a plane asking people to mask up, there’d be far fewer incidents, and near zero attacks on the cop with the gun, mace, and taser.

  66. Moosebreath says:

    @Kathy:

    “But there’s a big difference between trained and armed police enforcing the law, and untrained, unarmed employees enforcing rules the crazies find unpopular.”

    True. What should happen is the employees call the cops on the people who refuse to wear masks, and the crazies get arrested.

  67. @Michael Cain: That’s a good question, to which I do not have the answer. I was thinking mostly about kids, TBH.

    Most vaccines are administered to kids and largely are required for all practical purposes. This has resulted in them being enculturated and largely “normal.” This cam about via mandates (which is what I was getting at).

    Up and until recently l, being an anti-vaxxer meant being a weirdo.