Perhaps it is time to rethink our tolerance of “vaccine hesitancy.” The large unvaccinated population imposes dangers, burdens, and expenses on all of us.

COVID-19 is not like cancer or a car accident. Its causes and modes of spread are well known. It is preventable. Those who decline to get vaccinated are ignoring the guidance of medical experts, ignoring science, and ignoring their responsibility to join in our shared effort to resolve this public health crisis.

Vaccine hesitancy and COVID-19 denial contribute to prolonging the pandemic and making it more difficult and more expensive to combat.

In recent weeks, new surges of cases have arisen across the country, concentrated in populations with low vaccination rates. On July 19, investment markets lost billions of dollars in value, largely due to new fears of a COVID-19 resurgence, especially due to the delta variant. Once again, health care workers are being exposed to rising numbers of infected patients. The costs of the care being provided to these patients will be borne by all of us, in the form of insurance premiums and taxes.

We should discontinue giving pandemic deniers a free ride. Those who choose to ignore the advice of public health experts and who choose to persist in frustrating our efforts to bring the pandemic under control can continue to do so. But they should bear the consequences of their decisions.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Those who are eligible to be vaccinated and decline to do so ought to bear more of the costs of the resulting health care. Perhaps a “$5,000 vaccine-preventable illness” deductible would be appropriate. This simple, free market-based approach would go a long way toward distributing the burden of this public health crisis more fairly.

Barbara Stark


Readers' View and Local Views

Letters are limited to 300 words, must be the original work of the author and must be exclusive to the News Tribune. Letters are edited for style, space, accuracy and civility.

Letter writers are limited to one published submission every 30 days.

With rare exceptions, the News Tribune does not publish poetry; letters that are anonymous, libelous or attack other writers; consumer-complaint letters; thank-you letters; or letters generated by political or special-interest campaigns.

We will consider exclusive Local View columns of 600 words or fewer. Authors should possess unique insights, and their commentaries should demonstrate greater knowledge of their subject than letters.

Email submissions to:

Mail to: Readers' Views, Duluth News Tribune, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802.

Fax to: 218-720-5120.

Include a full name, address and daytime phone number. Only names and hometowns will be published.