What the anti-vaxxers get right, and what they get terribly wrong

Anti-vaxxers’ awakening to privacy violations by big tech and government only when it comes to the health pass is arguably disingenuous, but it’s also potentially counterproductive, writes Borzou Daragahi

Wednesday 22 December 2021 02:57 GMT
New Yorkers protest against the city’s teacher vaccine mandate
New Yorkers protest against the city’s teacher vaccine mandate (Getty)

Over the past weeks, I’ve spent hours with hardcore opponents of vaccination and vaccination mandates in eastern Europe, as well as among my social circle, travelling down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and weird science.

While the anti-vaxxers get many things wrong about broader issues of public health and social ethics, there is one thing they get a bit right. Their hostility to rules that require people to show “health passes” before entering restaurants and cafes, boarding planes or hitting the gym is probably a healthy instinct.

“Scan this,” says one anti-vax T-shirt, with the image of a middle finger superimposed on a QR code. But if the health passes seem like something out of a dystopian science fiction movie, it is a film that began decades ago, and this is what the anti-vaxxers get dreadfully wrong about them.

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