Do you remember a decade ago when FOMO was wildly popular? It was all the rage a decade ago. I think that we can use some fear for those who are vaccine-reluctant in 2021.
Although it may sound corny, FOMO is still a powerful tool — and one that I would like to see the U.S. use more in order to win wars.
Consider the Canadian government, which announced Friday it intends to make vaccination against COVID required for all commercial air travelers, as well as travelers on trains between provinces, and all cruise ship passengers. France is another country with high vaccination rates. It will require cross-country travel by plane, bus, and train.
The U.S. government and airlines have not mandated vaccinations for passengers flying through the United States. I would love to see them do so. Although there are some hurdles, such as FDA technicalities and blowback from customers, it’s possible to do this.
The rash of viral videos of anti-makers getting kicked off planes is one reason to move towards a vaccine requirement to fly. So many flight attendants spend their days begging folks to wear masks, risking assault from unruly anti-mask passengers. This is their problem. The staunch anti-mask, anti-vax Venn diagram is pretty much a circle, so mandating vaccines would save lots of hardworking airline employees a lot of trouble. If they were unable to get onto the plane without the vaccine, there would be fewer anti-maskers. Even vaccinated passengers might still need to wear masks in the future. Public health professionals have stated that it is not an either/or situation. To combat COVID, we must use every tool at our disposal.
Passenger vaccinations and mask-wearing are strongly recommended due to the highly transmittable Delta variant. It is long gone days when middle seats were empty. There is an increased risk that someone close to you could transmit COVID by a simple sneeze, or cough. This can happen even though they have been fully vaccinated. Being vaccinated continues to protect against death and the need for hospitalization, but rare breakthrough cases have shown some vaccinated people can pass the disease onto others or suffer flu-like symptoms themselves.
As air travel continues to creep toward the pre-pandemic level, some airlines like United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines require employees to get vaccinated. FOMO, which is used to make life more convenient for those who are not vaccinated, has become a very powerful tool. With venues, travel and restaurants all slipping toward their normal capacities, it may prove even more beneficial than preaching repeatedly (correctly!) that vaccinations save lives. It becomes increasingly difficult to avoid getting vaccinated if you need to travel indoors or on planes.
It is not clear that the jab will protect you against severe COVID consequences. This requires people to visualize their loved ones and themselves suffering. It is not something that many people can or will do. However, it is not possible to miss a trip with your friends. It’s concrete. It creates FOMO and suckers. It’s like giving dessert away to a child who refuses to eat his peas. This strategy works well with children for one simple reason. Many people who did their research — such as reading dumb Facebook posts — would forget that they were doing it. I imagine many people who “did their own research” — e.g., read stupid Facebook posts — might forget about that “research” when they have to miss a bachelor party in Nashville due to the requirement for a vaccine.
Here are some caveats. The U.S. is in a unique position where airlines, or the government, could reasonably mandate vaccines for air travel eventually, especially once the vaccines move beyond emergency authorization and get full FDA approval (that’s what some airline execs say is partially holding them back). Globally, there are billions who want to be vaccinated and don’t have the means. Many countries have very limited supplies, so the U.S. is asking people for the vaccine. Because many international travellers have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated, they won’t likely be held to the same standards as U.S. citizens. (FYI: If you want to help the global vaccine effort, Mashable has you covered.)
Full FDA approval is expected to come as soon as September, which would then make it more palatable for airlines (or the government) to mandate vaccines for travel. The U.S. may be able to work in a similar timeframe as Canada which will put the mandate into place by the fall according to its regulations.
This timeline leaves plenty of room for vaccine efforts to go forward. More Americans are now motivated to have the COVID jab after the Delta-related fears. Vaccination rates in the U.S. have jumped recently after weeks of lagging numbers. Public health officials continue to work with communities that have low vaccination rates. People are not getting their vaccines because they have fallen for misinformation. Unvaccinated individuals are more likely to be poorer or have a greater fear of being treated with medical racism. These people may lack childcare, the ability to leave work for a shot, or to deal with temporary side effects. These people need our support.
Some evidence has already shown that vax mandates are effective. This CNBC article quotes peoples who got vaccinated because they wanted to travel to places with restrictions. Sixty percent of people got vaccinated because they wanted “to visit family or friends but not being able to without a vaccine,” according to a Time/Harris poll of about 1000 adults taken in March. Fivety-two percent stated that they are influenced by the desire to travel, but cannot afford a vaccine. It is clear that travel can be a motivator to have vaccinated. What if you could fly to any part of the U.S. There is no flying to Disney. There is no flying to the Super Bowl. There is no flying through the skies to Christmas with your family.
A strong majority of Americans also want an air travel mandate. A new Harris poll of about 2,000 Americans from last week found 64 percent of respondents wanted a vaccine passport to be required to fly.
It is not an option to travel around the country. This is a privilege. It’s a privilege to be able to fly with others in the same confined area. Aside from that, I would like to know more about non-essential locations that require vaccination. We’d have skyrocketing vaccination rates if the NFL, major brands of gyms, colleges football conferences, chains restaurants and major concert venues required vaccination.
At the moment, we should be able to start with air travel. FOMO is a real thing. Let’s use it.
Publited Sat, 14 August 2021 at 20:37.04 +0000