In Our Opinion: Unvaccinated need to take responsibility for their choices

The pandemic in America would be over if everyone had gotten vaccinated.

Instead, mask mandates are back, hospitals are overfilling, the economy is taking more hits and the death rate from COVID-19 is again increasing.

It’s all because a sizable portion of the population has made a choice against vaccination, whether it’s a decision based on politics, misinformation, out-of-whack risk calculation or I’ll-get-to-it-later-ism.

Without the holdouts, we would have reached herd immunity weeks ago. And by definition, the pandemic would be over, which is not to say COVID-19 would be gone.

The people who make a choice against vaccination need to take responsibility for their actions, at least as much as possible.

They should be willing to forfeit their jobs, especially coveted government jobs, if they don’t want to abide by vaccine mandates.

They should stay away from public places, especially crowded areas. After all, children under 12 can’t get vaccinated yet and are particularly at risk from the delta variant being spread by unvaccinated, unmasked residents.

They should pay more for health insurance and they shouldn’t expect the government — which is really the rest of us — to cover the costs if they get sick from COVID-19.

Huge medical bills may be in the future for many unvaccinated people, who make up nearly all of COVID-19 inpatients at hospitals. Health insurance companies waived co-payments associated with COVID-19 treatment during the pandemic, which amounted to billions of dollars being written off.

But no longer. It will be treated as any other disease, the Seattle Times reported. And the cost of keeping a patient on a ventilator for weeks is astonishing.

It’s inevitable — and already happening — that health insurance premiums are going up for everyone because of the costs associated with COVID-19.

The longer the pandemic lingers, the higher the costs.

If health insurance companies can give discounts to people who don’t smoke, they can pass on the increased costs of health insurance to the unvaccinated.

That is what taking responsibility looks like.