By Rachel Marsden, columnist, political strategist and host of an independently produced French-language program that airs on Sputnik France. Her website can be found at rachelmarsden.com
While the authorities keep saying that Covid-19 vaccination isn’t obligatory – at least, not yet – good luck trying to live a normal life without it. It’s clear the ostracization of those who haven’t had the jab is well underway.
Last year, at this time, Covid-19 cases fell significantly without any substantial measures, as everything opened up for the summer and the powers-that-be in some countries allowed life to return to normal for a few months, all in the absence of vaccination.
This year, exactly the same phenomenon observed in 2020 is being attributed to mass inoculation. The narrative is that this is what’s saving us from Covid. And now the pressure’s on to force everyone into compliance, lest they want to live any semblance of normal life, beginning with summer travel.
Holiday options are shaping up to be quite different, depending on whether you’re vaccinated or not. France is now exempting vaccinated travelers from Europe and zero-Covid countries from quarantine and testing. But even vaccinated travelers from the US and elsewhere need to produce a negative test result before their flight, which begs the question, if the vaccine is so reliable, why do you need to test at all?
Unvaccinated travelers from outside Europe aren’t allowed to come to France for tourism. And if they must, for an imperative reason, a pre- and post-flight test and seven-day quarantine is imposed on arrival.
Canada currently forces its own returning citizens – the only travelers for whom the border is open – to quarantine in a government-designated facility at the traveler’s prepaid expense of up to $2,000, where they await a negative test result before completing the remaining 14-day quarantine at home. The hotel quarantine could be scrapped sometime this summer, but only for fully vaccinated returning Canadians – despite the fact that a scientific expert panel advised the government to drop the hotel quarantine altogether.
So, hassle-free travel to these countries and others is almost fully dependent on vaccination, even though these same governments have so little faith in the jab itself that they still require vaccinated travelers to be tested unless they’re coming in from a place where Covid-19 is so rare as to be virtually non-existent. Makes you wonder what the point of vaccine-based travel restrictions are if they’re viewed as so shoddy they can’t be trusted to prevent spread.
These rules reflect what we’ve already been told: that the vaccine doesn’t prevent disease or transmission, but rather reduces the likelihood of severe illness in the relative few who may have been prone to it.
Nor is the vaccine seemingly enough to allow life to go back to pre-pandemic norms in some places, even as the annual virus season draws to an end and summer ramps up. While some countries’ swimming pools and gyms are back to relatively normal capacity and use, others are still making patrons sign up for limited time slots and swim up one lane and down another in order to maintain social distancing between length swimmers – presumably, so they don’t risk infecting someone while breathing during front crawl.
Meanwhile, some American and Canadian universities are requiring Covid vaccination as a condition of attendance this fall. Why is all this necessary when it doesn’t stop transmission and anyone who’s worried about getting a serious form of Covid has already had the shot?
A medical advisory panel in France is also recommending that the vaccine be obligatory for certain public-facing professions and for school kids. This effectively means that any individuals who choose not to vaccinate – either because they already have natural immunity from the disease or figure that what they risk from the disease isn’t worth the potential long-term risks of taking a vaccine based on new, experimental technology – are going to find themselves with limited options.
There’s absolutely no justification for forcing anyone to vaccinate – for travel or otherwise. This mantra being bandied about that everyone has to do their part and take the shot in order to protect others is just total nonsense. The proof is in the lack of confidence that governments themselves are showing this summer by demanding that even the fully vaccinated take Covid tests.
The jab protects one person: the jabbed. That’s it. And no one should be ostracized or inconvenienced as a result of making a different choice for whatever reason. This highly personal medical decision is being misrepresented as some kind of collective necessity and is marginalizing those wanting to make a choice that’s different from the one that governments are pushing.
Since self-protection from serious forms of Covid-19 is in the hands of each individual, why exactly is the individual who chooses differently considered such a threat?