Door-to-door plan would be too coercing

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisers defended the strategy for increasing vaccinations with door-to-door vaccine outreach in states where there has been an infection surge. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson voiced his opposition via Facebook, saying he instructed state health department officials “to tell the federal government that sending government employees or agents door-to-door to compel vaccination would not be an effective or welcome strategy in Missouri.”

Biden adviser Jeff Zients responded that federal efforts to persuade unvaccinated individuals to get a shot rely on doctors and community leaders. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki backed up Zients, saying engaging local leaders on vaccination outreach has been effective.

No one disputes that. Doctors and local leaders and media advising the unvaccinated to get the shot can certainly be an effective tool in fighting the coronavirus, getting shots in arms and putting the trouble of the last 18 months behind us all.

Where we draw the line is Biden saying, “Now we need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes, door-to-door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people.”

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster understands why that is problematic. “Enticing, coercing, intimidating, mandating or pressuring anyone to take the vaccine is a bad policy, which will deteriorate the public’s trust and confidence in the state’s vaccination efforts.”

These days, people don’t want anyone coming to their door and trying to sell them something or influence them, whether it is a member of a church or political party, someone wanting to show some great new cleaning supplies or a local doctor wanting to know if you’ve been vaccinated.

Yes, there is a real problem convincing some people to get the vaccine, whether they fear side effects, needles or some bizarre conspiracy theory. Having a doctor or any other stranger show up at their door to try to convince them to get the shot is not going to help. It may deepen their convictions.

If evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccines and the science showing side effects are minimal and the conspiracy theories are nothing but political tools will not convince them, a smiling stranger at their door will not convince the holdouts. The idea should be abandoned in favor of education that actually will make a difference.


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