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There are people all across the globe who are unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Why are they unvaccinated against what, by any account, is a potentially lethal virus? Some, of course, don’t have access to vaccines and others might not have access to appropriate news outlets. However, others, particularly in the more highly, mass-educated countries of the United States and Europe, remain unvaccinated because they simply choose not to be.

Star athletes, such as Aaron Rogers and Novak Djokovic, are among the rich and famous choosing to ignore the opportunities to get vaccinated.

I am aware that some people might not be able to tolerate the vaccine. I am aware that some people have underlying conditions that might prevent them from having the vaccine administered to them.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 91% of Democrats in the United States are vaccinated and 50% of Republicans are vaccinated. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 85% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The approximately 50 million unvaccinated are holding the rest of us hostage.

Social distancing, mask wearing, closed business establishments and supply chain slowdowns are threats for all of us. For most people, i.e., the vaccinated, the pandemic is pretty much over. For hardline anti-vaxxers, it’s still a problem. It’s a problem for them, and they are making it our problem. It’s time to get the attention of the unvaccinated, time to take off the gloves.

What I am referring to are those who tell us they have done their own research, who believe there are microchips embedded in the vaccines, who don’t think COVID-19 is the threat it’s made out to be or who worry about the side effects from the vaccine. I am tired of these arguments, and conversations I have had with others who are vaccinated indicate they also are tired of them.

Our governor begs them to get vaccinated. He offers nice things to the lucky ones whose names are drawn after being vaccinated. What else can he do? Of course, he is not going to mandate anything connected to COVID-19 and politics. The unvaccinated likely would not comply anyway. So, can we just forget about them, declare the pandemic over and let them get sick by their own choosing?

I suspect nurses, doctors and hospitals would be in dereliction of their professional oaths and responsibilities if they did so.

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Humana, a major health care provider, indicated to me that it is obligated to pay for what the hospitals submit. In essence, there seems to be no policy at the insurance level regarding payment. I never thought I’d be the one saying the insurance companies are getting ripped off, but they are.

I would have never thought that Republicans who tout their fiscal conservatism would stand for rewarding civil disobedience that costs money, but they are.

I am led to conclude that we should make the nonvaccinated pay for their insurance and hospital stays out of pocket. The sad part is that I thought I was the first to think along these lines. Alas, I was not even close to being the first.

Delta Airlines has raised the contribution level for health insurance among its unvaccinated employees. That seems fair enough, doesn’t it?

I have heard people say “it’s my body and my freedom of choice.” That’s all well and good, if unvaccinated people who come down with COVID-19 will just sit at home with their families until they recover from the virus — or not. However, they go to the hospital and take up bed space without a thought of their responsibility to others. The hospital turns in their bills and the insurance company, depending on the coverage the patient has, pays what it is supposed to pay.

That very fact drives up insurance premiums for the rest of us.

Illinois state Sen. Jonathan Carroll has put forward a bill requiring nonvaccinated people to pay for their own COVID-19, care. That is a good idea. Here’s where it gets sticky, though. Carroll is a Democrat and the Republicans are against the bill because of that simple fact. They also oppose it because most unvaccinated people, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, are three times more likely to lean toward voting a Republican ticket. If the Republicans in Illinois supported Caroll’s bill, it would mean they would have to do the right thing, as opposed to the politically expedient thing of maintaining their base. I just don’t see that happening.

Here’s the bottom line: If the unvaccinated pay their own medical expenses, there will be no mandates, no masks, no social distancing. Let’s just ignore the unvaccinated and let them pay for the principles they hold. We all do that anyway, don’t we? We all understand that decisions have consequences.

I have great faith in the governor’s and the Legislature’s ability, working with others, to make it happen. The question is: Do they have the will to do the right thing?

Joe Manzo is a retired Concord University professor living in Athens.

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