Politics, Moderate



Rex Huppke: As COVID cases surge, the unvaccinated-by-choice should know they’re being judged harshly

Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

As COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths rise again across the country, there rests, on the tips of many vaccinated Americans’ tongues, an exasperated rant waiting to be set free.

It’s a rant those who have followed the rules, the science and common sense wish to direct at those willfully refusing the safe and effective coronavirus vaccines that can largely halt the aforementioned infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

At the risk of speaking for millions of vaccinated Americans who are simply exhausted by nonsense, here is that rant. You’re welcome to borrow it, share it or find ways to make it your own:

Hi there. If you’re willfully unvaccinated and don’t have a health issue that prevents you from getting a COVID-19 vaccine, I am judging you harshly.

I don’t care if my judgment somehow steels your resolve to not get a vaccine that is safe, free, readily available and staggeringly effective. I’m done pretending the burden is somehow on me, the person acting responsibly, to coddle you, the person acting irresponsibly, and to pretend there’s some magical middle ground where we can meet up and hash things out.

There isn’t a middle ground. Over here on my side, there is scientific data, the overwhelming consensus of medical professionals, historical precedent and a recognition that a convoluted sense of individual liberty can’t override public health. On your side is a sad tapestry of tweets and Facebook posts from grifters, unhinged know-nothings and vaccinated politicians who want your money and your vote and couldn’t give a flip if you live or die.


I can’t meet people halfway when the halfway point exists in a conspiratorial land of make believe. This isn’t a both-sides issue. It’s a one-side issue, and you’re either getting the vaccine and helping bail us out of this achingly long pandemic or you’re being ridiculous.

I keep hearing how we just need to reach out to the unvaccinated and coax them along and explain why getting the vaccine is important. I bought that when vaccines first came out around the beginning of the year.

But c’mon, it’s August. More than 166 million Americans are fully vaccinated, and guess what? You, the willfully unvaccinated, are the reason the deadlier and more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus has unleashed hell across swaths of the country, largely in areas that — surprise! — have low vaccination rates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that 99% of COVID-19 deaths and more than 97% of COVID-19 hospitalizations now involve people who have not been vaccinated.


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