Study Shows People Think the Unvaccinated Shouldn’t Have Some Fundamental Rights

Study Shows People Think the Unvaccinated Shouldn’t Have Some Fundamental Rights
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It looks like in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new social dynamic has occurred. More precisely, many of those who chose to vaccinate tend to exclude those unvaccinated from their midst, even when it comes to some of their family members.

In other words, it seems like all over the globe, people feel motivated to show prejudice towards unvaccinated people, one Aarhus University study published in the Nature journal shows.

The study found that many inoculated people are against close relatives marrying unvaccinated people.

In addition to that, they also tend to assume the unvaccinated are untrustworthy and incompetent and feel a level of antipathy against them.

It also determined that discrimination against the unvaccinated is generally higher than prejudice directed at other targets of discrimination such as former convicts, those suffering from drug addiction, as well as immigrants.

On the other hand, the researchers involved in this study determined that the unvaccinated tend to show nearly no discrimination against those vaccinated.

Lead author of the study, postdoc Alexander Bor, explains that “The conflict between those who vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who aren’t threaten societal cohesion as a new socio political cleavage, and the vaccinated seem to be the ones deepening this rift.”

The team of researchers share that one of the ways in which this prejudice is justified is that the vaccinated see the unvaccinated as “free riders.”

After all, high vaccination uptake is really important when it comes to avoiding great economic failure, returning to normal social life and securing people’s safety and health during the pandemic.

That being said, when some people contribute to vaccine uptake while others don’t, it’s no surprise that it leads to animosity against the latter group.

Professor of political science at the Aarhus University and a co-lead of the research, Michael Bang Petersen, says that “The vaccinated react in a natural way against what they perceive as free riding on a public good. This is a well known psychological mechanism and a completely normal human reaction. Nonetheless, it may have severe consequences for society. In the short run, prejudice against the unvaccinated could complicate pandemic management as it leads to mistrust, and we know mistrust hinders vaccination uptake. In the long run, it could mean that society leaves the pandemic more divided and more polarised than they entered it.”

In addition to all of that, a separate survey, fielded exclusively in the United States, shows that people think the unvaccinated should be denied some fundamental rights as well.

For example, they should not be allowed to move into neighborhoods and their free speech on social media should be censored as to avoid the spreading of false information.

Petersen mentions that “It’s likely that we’ll encounter similar support for the restriction of rights in other countries, seeing as prejudice and antipathy can be found across all continents and cultures.”


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Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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