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Yikes: Unvaccinated forced to wear skull and crossbones in part of India

Good lord. And I thought vaccine passports were a bit heavy-handed in pressuring people to get vaxxed.

When India wants to shame someone socially for behaving irresponsibly, they don’t f*** around.

Of course, this is the same country that just suffered the worst COVID outbreak on Earth, one with a death toll that might reach into the millions. If anyone’s going to overreact in the name of limiting infections, they’re the obvious candidate.

The skull-and-crossbones bade isn’t a national policy. A single district in a single Indian state is following it. But the effort to stigmatize the unvaccinated there is so over the top that it’s getting international attention from the likes of Reuters.

“Watching the low vaccination rate in our district we decided to honour the people who got vaccinated, but then we also found a large number of people who were not vaccinated,” Santosh Patel, a sub-divisional police officer posted in the Prithvipur block of Niwari district, told Reuters on Thursday.

“So to teach them a lesson and encourage them to get vaccinated, we administrated an oath to get them inoculated as soon as possible.”

Those who were vaccinated were given a sign with the colours of the Indian flag reading “I am a nationalist.”

Those who were not vaccinated were given a skull and crossbones sign saying “Do not come near me, I am not vaccinated. Please stay away from me,” according to Patel and video footage from the district. Some people were seen wearing the signs taped to their chest.

Some unvaccinated Americans have hysterical been about their alleged victim status, replete with Holocaust analogies. But iin India they really will make you wear a badge to signify that you’re part of a class that’s a threat to community.

The strangest aspect is that India is notorious for having vaccinated only a tiny percentage of its population for COVID before the devastating wave arrived last month that killed so many. That’s ironic because India is a global powerhouse of vaccine manufacturing; if anyone was well positioned to launch an aggressive vaccination campaign, it was them. Unfortunately, the fact that the pandemic was so mild there during the first 12 months appears to have lulled them into a false sense of security, even convincing some that Indians were naturally immune to COVID. They found out the hard way that they weren’t and are now clamoring to catch up on immunizations:

Lack of supply, not lack of demand, is India’s vaccine problem. In which case, why are unvaccinated people being shamed? It’d be like rubber-stamping “Traitor” on the foreheads of Americans who hadn’t gotten their shots yet as of February 1 of this year. The doses had barely hit the market yet.

Imagine having to walk around with a skull and crossbones on your shirt because you weren’t able to find an available dose somewhere despite trying.

Here’s video from Madhya Pradesh of Indian police in action. By the way, a new Morning Consult survey of 15 major nations finds that only Russia has a higher percentage of people who describe themselves as unwilling to be vaccinated than the U.S. does.