How to vaccinate the anti-vaxxers

Instead of blaming people for not doing the right thing, let's focus on eliminating the obstacles to vaccination that still remain

A vaccine video game.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

It's hard to believe that only three months ago Americans were furious about the slow and inefficient rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines. In three months, we've gone from a mentality of scarcity, with strict eligibility criteria and appointments that are as hard to get as Springsteen tickets, to one of abundance, with vaccine appointments so readily available that unused vaccines are piling up. But it's not because everyone's vaccinated; on the contrary, case rates and death rates are still hovering at the same level as six months ago, and overall vaccination levels are still well-below the threshold for herd immunity that could lead to the end of the pandemic domestically.

Why is our vaccination effort apparently stalling out so close to the finish line? The answer generally given is vaccine refusal. Something like a quarter of those polled say they will not get the vaccine if offered, which would be a high enough rate to significantly slow progress toward herd immunity and the recovery of normal life for everyone.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Noah Millman

Noah Millman is a screenwriter and filmmaker, a political columnist and a critic. From 2012 through 2017 he was a senior editor and featured blogger at The American Conservative. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Politico, USA Today, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy, Modern Age, First Things, and the Jewish Review of Books, among other publications. Noah lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.