Greece is introducing fines, while Spain is banning unvaccinated travelers. These actions are making life even harder for those who don’t want to get a shot that is increasingly used by the government to spook its people, especially with the recent spread of the omicron variant.
The government is now making vaccines mandatory for Greeks over 60 years of age, and will have to pay a find of 100 euro ($113) for every month they don’t get a shot. The funds will then go to hospital services. So far, only around 60,000 of its 580,000 senior population have received the vaccine in November.
With one of the lowest vaccination rates in western Europe, Austria is set to remain on lockdown until mid-December, with Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg vowing to lift restrictions only for the vaccinated or people recently recovered from the virus.
A lockdown of unvaccinated people will likely persist, though they can still go to work as long as they present a negative test. Meanwhile, officials are working to impose mandatory vaccinations beginning February, with fines reaching as high as 7,200 euros ($8,151). (Related: Austria implements nationwide lockdown, makes COVID vaccination mandatory.)
In Finland, bars and restaurants are refusing the use of COVID certificates and will no longer serve booze after 5 p.m. Health officials in the northern town of Kajaani even offered a thousand buckets to entice people to take their shots, playing off the joke that Finns will line up for free buckets.
Those who will not get their shots in Singapore will have to pay for their own medical bills if they get COVID. These patients will have to pay about SG$25,000 ($18,460), according to a median estimate released by the Singaporean health ministry.
In the U.S., the Biden administration issued an emergency ruling that forces large private companies to require vaccination or regular testing. According to the Department of Labor, the said mandate will apply to companies with over 100 employees, with a January 4, 2022 deadline. Failure to comply with these mandates could trigger fines of as much as $136,000.
Because of this, about five percent of unvaccinated workers left their jobs upon imposing the vaccine mandate, as per a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Vaccination status creates two classes of people
With regards to travel, there are two kinds of security rules at airports: those that apply equally to everyone, and those that divide passengers into categories.
As the number of cases keep growing, many public agencies are re-imposing masking rules on everyone. Critics say universal restrictions should no longer be the solution by this stage of the pandemic.
Polls showed that people who are reluctant to get vaccinated have a variety of motivations, such as concerns about side effects, skepticism of shots not fully approved by the Food and Drug Authority or a general aversion to the vaccines.
Many government leaders and public health officials believe that it is time for the unvaccinated to bear the burden of the pandemic.
Amid the ongoing health crisis, it seems that many governments around the world think people who refuse to adhere to public health guidance do not deserve to live a normal life.
Read more at Pandemic.news.