Is the battle against vaccine scepticism already lost?
Around 65 percent of EU citizens are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. But the rates vary widely from country to country, and even those states with comparatively high vaccination rates are barely reaching levels necessary to contain the Delta variant. Europe's press discusses the causes and appropriate measures to deal with vaccination scepticism and opponents.
Bulgarians need a jab against fake news
The 14-day incidence in Bulgaria (which has a vaccination rate of around 20 percent) has climbed to over 900 infections per 100,000 inhabitants for the first time. Intensive care units are filled to overflowing. Bulgarian society needs vaccination not only against the coronavirus but also against misinformation, comments the Bulgarian service of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle:
“Otherwise our future looks bleak. In the last week alone, 885 people died of Covid in Bulgaria - 95 percent of them were unvaccinated. Nevertheless, the lies about vaccines are still becoming increasingly entrenched in the public mind, much like those about the 'gender' conspiracy and other nonsensical prejudices.”
Hate instead of vaccination campaigns in Hungary
The government in Budapest (roughly 60 percent of Hungarians are vaccinated) missed the opportunity to educate the population before it was too late, Mérce comments angrily:
“The government had an unlimited opportunity last year to dispel existing doubts and find the right words to convince people that they should get vaccinated - not only for their own health, but also to protect those close to them. ... But the government always considered it more important to foment hatred sometimes against refugees, sometimes against our fellow Roma citizens, and then against prisoners or homosexuals.”
Rioting is not a civil right
Õhtuleht deplores the fact that opponents of vaccination in Estonia (which has a vaccination rate of around 57 percent) have attacked hospitals and jeered at supermarket staff:
“One part of the population has decided to fight for their rights rudely and impolitely, shouting and kicking all the way. This loud minority does not understand that there is no article in the constitution that calls for yelling. In the present situation, if you don't like a requirement imposed by the state, you politely take action to change it. But you don't rudely insult fellow law-abiding citizens.”
The reasonable must raise their voices
Just because the ignorant are often louder they must not gain the upper hand, warns Volkskrant columnist Erdal Balci:
“In the Netherlands, 20 percent of the population don't want to be vaccinated. In countries like Russia or Romania, more than half of the population rejects this latest jewel of science. The primitive instinct is stronger than civilised reasoning. If this continues, many cultures will be dominated by the hordes who want to impose their ignorance, simplism and superstition on all humanity. This column is a warning to the mostly reserved and silent people of reason. It's time to speak up. Get active, convince your loved ones! Do something!”