Table 2

Political rhetoric regarding the unvaccinated

Country leaderStatement
Emmanuel Macron, PM of France“[It is] only a very small minority who are resisting. How do we reduce that minority? We reduce it by pissing them off even more…When my freedoms threaten those of others, I become someone irresponsible. Someone irresponsible is not a citizen.”117
Justin Trudeau, PM of Canada“When people are seeing cancer treatments and elective surgeries put off because beds are filled with people who chose not to get vaccinated, they’re frustrated…When people see that we are in lockdowns or serious public health restrictions right now because of the risk posed to all of us by unvaccinated people, people get angry.”
“They are extremists who don’t believe in science, they’re often misogynists, also often racists…It’s a small group that muscles in, and we have to make a choice, as a leader and as a country: Do we tolerate these people?”137
Joe Biden, President of the USA“This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. And it’s caused by the fact that despite America having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months free vaccines have been available in 80 000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot.”138
"For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.”139
Naftali Bennett, PM of Israel“Dear citizens, those who refuse vaccines are endangering their health, those around them and the freedom of every Israeli citizen. They are endangering our freedom to work, the freedom of our children to learn and the freedom to hold celebrations with the family. Those who refuse vaccines hurt us all because if all of us were vaccinated, we would all be able to maintain daily life. But if one million Israelis continue to not get vaccinated, this will oblige the eight million others to shut themselves in their homes.”140
Michael Gunner, Northern Territories Chief Minister, Australia"If you are anti-mandate, you are absolutely anti-vax, I don't care what your personal vaccination status is. If you support, champion, give a green light, give comfort to [or] support anybody who argues against the vaccine, you are an anti-vaxxer, absolutely. Your personal vaccination status is not relevant. If you campaign against the mandate…If you say 'pro-persuasion', stuff it, shove it. You are anti-vax.”141
Jacinda Ardern, PM of New Zealand,"If you are still unvaccinated, not only will you be more at risk of catching COVID-19, but many of the freedoms others enjoy will be out of reach…. we have managed very high vaccination rates, generally, without the use of certificates but what has become clear to me is that they are not only a tool to drive up vaccines; they are a tool for confidence. People who are vaccinated will want to know that they are around other vaccinated people…it is a tool for business.”142
Tony Blair, former UK PM“We need to target the unvaccinated. Frankly if you are unvaccinated at the moment and you’re eligible and have no health reason for being unvaccinated, you’re not only irresponsible but you’re an idiot. I am sorry but truthfully you are. With this Omicron variant…you will get it and this will put a lot of strain on the health service.”143
Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines“I’m now giving orders to village leaders to look for those persons who are not vaccinated and request them to stay put [in their house]…If they refuse to vaccinate, or continue to leave their home, the village leaders are empowered to arrest them…."144
  • PM, Prime Minister.