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To vax or not to vax: that is the question

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We are all probably aware of the furore over Novax Djocavic and the Australian Open tennis championship. The issue is to vax or not to vax. Now, some people can’t get a vaccination due to their health conditions but, other than this, governments are telling us you must get vaccinated.

France mandates “a vaccine pass that will exclude unvaccinated people from restaurants, sports arenas and other venues”.

In many countries, you cannot enter unless you are vaccinated. And now several companies are saying the same.

The U.S. Supreme Court may have ruled against employer vaccine mandates, but that hardly matters to Jamie Dimon and other Wall Street chiefs, who are standing firmly in favor of requiring staff to get the life-saving jabs. “To go to the office, you have to be vaxxed, and if you aren’t going to get vaxxed, you won’t be able to work in that office,” Dimon told CNBC … in addition to JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo are all requiring staff to disclose their vaccine status.

To vax or not to vax. That is the question. I asked the question of my twitterati and people are divided over whether people should be forced to vax. The majority say no…

… but it’s a bit like: to wear a mask or not to wear a mask. For most of us, it’s all down to the risks we take.

Why do some people risk their lives for fun?

This is an Economist article that shows some interesting insights about people who BASE jump, wear wingsuits and do other dangerous sports. This paragraph jumped out at me:

People’s appetite for risk appears to be domain specific. People who enjoy jumping off cliffs will not necessarily be keen to put their money into risky investments, or take risks in their relationships. Even within seemingly similar domains, appetites to risk vary. Financial investment can look rather like gambling, but Mr Wilke’s research shows that professional investors perceive gambling as far riskier than most people do. Put into a Las Vegas casino, hedge-fund managers are more likely to behave like the characters in “The Big Short”—who forsake the card tables to research their investment positions—than they are like those of “The Wolf of Wall Street”, who gamble “like degenerates”.

It's all about risk and risk management, and that’s where the vaccination and mask debate sits. Some people don’t care; some do. Some just want to live a normal life; some don’t want to die. Some assess the risk of death versus the risk of living a normal life; some just see the media propaganda, sorry headlines, and think it’s all over-pumped.

And it varies by region and part of the world.

The UK and USA are all for freedoms of individuals and business; China and Eastern Europe feel slightly different. It’s the politics of pandemics.

This is illustrated well in Eastern Europe – bearing in mind that Novax is a Serbian and I’m living in Poland. As of November 2021, while 75.6% of European Union citizens are fully vaccinated, the share in Bulgaria is 26.2% and 39.6% in Romania. In countries outside the EU, the numbers are even bleaker. Only 20.2% of Ukraine’s population, and 36.3% of Russia’s, is fully vaccinated. For Eastern Europeans, a lot of this is to do with governmental control and influence in the past, when these nations were under Communist rule. They see government mandates for vaccinations as a stealth method of tracking and tracing them. The Bill Gates chip will be inserted and they will never be free again. A Ukrainian doctor recently summed up the situation in her country:

“Fake stories have spread widely, making people believe in microchips and genetic mutations ... Some Orthodox priests have openly and aggressively urged people not to get vaccinated, and social networks have been filled with the most absurd rumors. Ukrainians have learned to distrust any authorities’ initiatives, and vaccination isn’t an [exception].”

When your friends, your colleagues and your church is telling you not to get vaxxed, no wonder the acceptance of such dictates by governments are resisted so much. Maybe this is why Austria, which also has a low vaccination rate compared to the rest of Europe, is making vaccination compulsory by law:

"Austria's parliament on Thursday (21st January 2022) approved making Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for adults from next month, becoming the first European country to do so despite a wave of protests opposing the measure. Tens of thousands have demonstrated against mandatory vaccination in regular weekend rallies since the measure was announced in November in a bid to drive up the country's vaccination rate. But all parties, except the far-right, supported the measure, with the new legislation passing with 137 votes in favour and 33 votes against it."

Meantime, I’m not joining the pro- or anti- groups. I’m just saying: is it fair to force people to be vaccinated or they cannot do their job? I don’t think so.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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