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Editorial

Discrimination Against the Unvaccinated

Until we say “Thank God,” we say “help us Virgin Mary.”

Just when we thought we were done with the coronavirus, mutations like the Delta variant emerge, in one country after another, such as in Greece, Portugal, and others. These countries, and others, are taking measures to prevent it from spreading.

And they are right to do so.

For example, I consider what the Greek government announced last week to be right and just. They will require travelers heading to the islands to either be vaccinated or present a negative coronavirus test result.

It is right, because if this is not done it can cause problems for both locals and tourists.

Of course, here a fundamental question arises: Whether a state has the right to discriminate, to punish some members of the population – i.e. vaccine-deniers.

This is not a trivial question at all, because the issue of the rights of the individual do arise.

Should a state, then, intervene in the personal life and choices of its citizens?

Under normal circumstances, the answer would be a resounding "no!" History is full of cases where the state deprived its citizens of their rights under various pretexts and forced them to implement its decisions, ostensibly in the common interest, with known results.

But here, the case with the coronavirus is different.

We are now facing a pandemic, which for a year-and-a-half has wreaked havoc on one country after another.

And here we are faced with a case in which a minority endangers not only the majority, but also themselves.

So, while the state is not forcing anyone to be vaccinated, it is nevertheless trying to hold them accountable.

Expatriate Professor Nicholas Christakis of Yale University argues, according to The Economist, that the end of the pandemic will be similar to that of previous pandemics.

Specifically, he recognizes three phases:

The first is that the common danger we face brings about an increase in the power of the state.

The second is that the changes imposed by the coronavirus on everyday life leads people to examine the meaning of life.

And the third phase is when the risk of death we faced, which changed our behavior and made us more careful when the pandemic was galloping, turns into overconfidence when it passes.

During the pandemic, governments are the main source of information. They set the rules, they are the source of money, and in the final analysis, they supply the vaccines, notes The Economist.

Certainly an example of a restriction of individual liberties is the one I mentioned above.

And yet, as the professor rightly points out, the majority applauds them.

As I do in this column.

The question, however, in the present circumstances is: do we have any other choice?

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