Most double and/or triple vaxxers are fed up. We’ve suffered through each wave and subsequent lock-down with style and grace, dutifully making our sourdough starters and baked goods, socializing on dog walks and chilly patios. When our kids could get the jab, we took the first appointments, told them they were protecting themselves and supporting the common good, and bought them ice cream afterwards. We have even forgiven ourselves for Boozeday Tuesdays and marathoning Netflix, knowing that we are doing the right thing, keeping hospitals open and the grandparents safe.
From the sidelines we’ve watched the anti-vaxxers harass doctors and nurses outside hospitals – unmasked and unvaxxed spewing hateful rhetoric – accusing them of threatening their “freedom” while they are obviously infringing on theirs. We’ve skipped over posts on Facebook that featuring pseudo doctors, disgraced professors and audience-less court cases positing that vaccines are killing people. We’ve ignored the pleas from the unvaxxed, begging us to wake up and stop being lemmings to the government and big pharma while simultaneously touting the benefits from scientifically debunked ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. We bear down and say nothing while they follow their chosen leader, dictator, charlatan and chief down a path of fake news, hateful accusations and the destruction of democracy – hoping that eventually, sanity, the right thing will prevail.
With this in mind, at first glance many of us support Quebec’s leadership – in fact many of the vaccinated herald it and want to see more measures taken against these anti-social miscreants. Maybe we think it should go further, we should only treat the vaccinated, or at least put them at the front of the line. Maybe we think that hospitals should look up the social profiles of people when they enter the hospital – if have they supported anti-vax propaganda – they should go to the back of the line…maybe, maybe not. Would these measures set a precedent that will in fact infringe on our freedoms, by supporting Quebec Premier François Legault’s decision are we hurting Canada’s universal health care? Are we just as bad as the anti-vaxxers?
Let’s take a look at the arguments against the anti-vax tax.
Argument #1: many marginalized people don’t trust vaccines or the government so forcing the unvaxed to pay a health tax marginalizes people even more.
Has the government made mistakes in the past regarding marginalized populations – yes. Should they do more to increase trust – yes. Should this be an excuse not to take a vaccine more than 80% of the Canadian adult population has taken – no. If this new tax forces marginalized populations to get the vaccine – I see it as a win win because the vaccine saves lives and protects the health care system. Accepting that marginalized people remain unvaccinated is not a satisfactory outcome.
Argument #2: If we tax the unvaxxed, what’s next, giving an extra tax to people who get sick from preventable causes like cigarette smoking or alcohol abuse?
Actually – the government does tax cigarettes and alcohol and those taxes in turn go into our universal health care system, so, we already have precedent.
Argument #3: It’s a slippery slope, if we start to tax the unvaxxed, we may de-prioritize their treatment, and in turn de-prioritize the treatment of other people with preventable diseases, we will be living in a “nanny state”.
Everyone thought that legalizing pot would be the start of a bigger drug epidemic. People would be more apt to try harder, more addictive drugs but that hasn’t proven to be the case. The slippery slope argument rarely turns out to be true. More importantly, this type of argument is hyperbole, a hypothetical situation made to distract from the issue at hand. Premier François Legault is not saying that treatment should be prioritized, he’s just saying that the unvaccinated will need to compensate for the extra burden they are placing on the health care system.
Argument #4: The tax takes away from our freedoms!
Actually, this does not take away from peoples freedom. Mandatory vaccination policies would infringe on peoples “freedom”… but with this tax, if they want the right to get deathly ill and end up in an ICU, so be it. This tax gives people a choice – if they chose to be unvaccinated, this tax forces them to acknowledge that they have a much higher likelihood of requiring medical attention if they catch the virus, and that medical attention costs money. It’s a simple stopgap that is fair for everyone.
Right now the small unvaxxed population is taking an outsized proportion of hospital and ICU cases.
In fact, if everyone who can get vaxxed and boosted got vaxxed and boosted, we wouldn’t have a health crisis at all. The unvaxxed are taking life saving treatments away from the rest of society by clogging up the ICU. Many of our hospitals are in a state of emergency, cancelling all surgeries that aren’t life threatening and cancelling diagnostic work, follow-ups and other preventative appointments that save lives. Now is not the time to find a lump or get in a car accident. And many of our stressed out health care workers can’t take a break – their vacation times being denied for the greater good. It’s the unvaccinated that are prioritizing their health above all others. So I herald this vax tax, it’s a little thank you to everyone who listens to science, believes in the greater good and wants to keep our health care system strong.