The Corner

Health Care

No, Mr. President, We Can’t ‘Save the Unvaccinated From Themselves’

An employee holds a sign reminding fans to wear their mask during a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn., April 24, 2021. (David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)

Axios summarizes the recent White House moves as, “the Biden administration is essentially asking vaccinated Americans to help save the unvaccinated from themselves.”

The problem is, it is almost impossible to save someone who isn’t willing to save himself — and I suspect many of the unvaccinated would insist they’re fine just as they are. If unvaccinated people thought they were at significant risk of infection, serious health consequences, and death from COVID-19… then they would probably go out and get vaccinated. Many will refuse to believe they face significant risk of infection, serious health consequences, and death from COVID-19, right up until the moment they’re admitted to a hospital.

My guess is every American has some experience with some variation of that theme — loved ones living with addictions, friends who keep falling in love with someone who’s terrible for them, dealing with family members or friends who can’t control their spending, their drinking, their overeating. Human beings can be exceptionally stubborn creatures, and cling to a preferred narrative in the face of overwhelming counterevidence.

The lesson of this is not, “never help anyone.” The lesson is that we need to make sure the person being helped psychologically and spiritually “buys into” the effort as well. Otherwise, even the best-intentioned efforts are likely to leave problems exacerbated instead of solved.

Perhaps a better way of summarizing the situation is, “the Biden administration is asking vaccinated Americans who are at little to no risk of COVID-19 to accept additional inconveniences to minimize the risk of infections among people who refuse to get vaccinated, and in many cases, refuse wear masks themselves.” The philosophy is that the vaccinated owe the unvaccinated even more additional effort, with little or no discussion of what the unvaccinated owe the vaccinated in return. No one wants to help an ingrate.

What does the Biden team think is going to happen, besides angering lots of Americans?

 

 

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