Opinion | Persuading the Vaccine Holdouts

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To the Editor:

Again and again, The Times has interviewed the unvaccinated to understand their motivations. The reasons the unvaccinated give simply don’t matter (nor do their real reasons, if different). It’s past time for persuasion.

This is a worldwide health crisis and, at least in the United States, it is getting worse — when it could already have been suppressed, if everyone had got vaccinated promptly. More than 600,000 Americans have died, and, as you have reported, the caseload and death toll are sharply increasing because of the Delta variant.

The evidence is overwhelming that the vaccines work. Thus waiting to be vaccinated (much less resisting it) is irresponsible, antisocial behavior that the responsible majority has every right to suppress.

All Americans above the age of 12 must be vaccinated, whether or not they want to be, unless they have a valid medical reason. Severe penalties must be applied to resisters, so that few continue to resist. And paid time off work and rides to vaccine sites must be provided, though not cash. That would be rewarding irresponsibility. In this case, individual freedom must yield to the common good.

Ben Silverman
Playas de Rosarito, Mexico

To the Editor:

Re “What to Do With Our Covid Rage,” by Sarah Smarsh (Opinion guest essay, Sunday Review, Aug. 8):

At some point this country is going to need to pivot from trying to save the ones who don’t want to be saved and start focusing on the ones who do, by rolling out boosters at home and more aggressively providing vaccines to poorer nations. The Delta variant is only the current threat, but it didn’t originate in the United States. The best way to channel Covid anger is by putting the heft of this country behind a global vaccination effort to prevent future, and most certainly more deadly, variants and stop wasting our outrage on people who are never going to be convinced.

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