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Our take: Vaccine hesitant? think again

South Africa’s Bill of Rights enshrines our right to equality and freedom, and the responsibility to uphold it with dignity and pride. So, when Covid-19 vaccines became available, the government gave us the freedom to choose whether we would like to get vaccinated or not. 

As more people get vaccinated and life slowly begins to return to normal, there’s a new debate emerging: life vs the quality of life. That’s because, increasingly, refusing a Covid-19 vaccine will limit your access to certain spaces, hinder your ability to travel and might even get you in trouble at work.

New rules are being introduced for people who choose not to be vaccinated: if you open a new policy at Discovery and haven’t been vaccinated, your premiums will increase because you’re considered high risk. The new rule kicked in on 29 July and only affects new policies. 

And, while it’s not mandatory to be vaccinated before returning to the office, you will have to provide a valid constitutional or medical reason for refusing the jab (we’re afraid conspiracy theories won’t save you here.) 👀 Travel options will also be limited – most countries require you to be vaccinated before travelling. 

South Africa is no exception. In France, people will have to prove they have been vaccinated before entering a restaurant, bar or cultural event. In Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, officials are debating whether those who choose not to get vaccinated should be fined – so your choice will hit your wallet. 💸 

The point is, dear reader, that while you may choose not to get vaccinated, other choices will be made FOR you in future. Instead of making the circle bigger, as the 2009 hit would have it, your life will shrink. And it’s not just the big stuff: those who prefer not to party with the unvaccinated may shun you, and you may even limit your romantic opportunities as dating apps emphasise just how sexy it is to be vaccinated. you pose a risk to people in your social circles too. Do you really want to have to add “unvaxxed” to your Tinder bio? 😕

You absolutely have the right to say no. But individuals, organisations and entire states have just as much right to turn you away. Plus, we all have the responsibility to help protect those around us. Let’s choose wisely. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 05 August 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.