Being unvaccinated is getting expensive

Novak Djokovic hangs his head at the net

Some people who remain unvaxed against Covid-19 are going to have to budget that decision in along with groceries, car insurance, and the heating bill.

Look no further than Novak Djokovic, whose career is on the verge of being derailed because he is unvaccinated. The tennis star left potential winnings of $3.3 million on the table when he was blocked from playing in the Australian Open due to his vaccination status. But that’s just the beginning of his professional concerns:

  • It’s not clear how Djok can play in the French Open, the next Grand Slam tournament on the schedule, since the country just passed a new law that requires proof of vaccination for anyone at venues like sports arenas and restaurants. The UK and the US, which are hosting the final two majors of the year (Wimbledon and the US Open), also have tough restrictions on unvaccinated people.
  • Lacoste, the apparel brand that sponsors Djokovic, said it would “review the events” surrounding his rejection by Australia. Djokovic is the 46th highest-paid athlete in the world, bringing in roughly $30 million in endorsements a year.

But tennis star or otherwise, unvaccinated people around the world are increasingly being hit by financial penalties as governments try to boost lagging vax rates. A quick roundup…

Greece: Beginning Sunday, unvaccinated people in Greece aged 60 and over will have to pay a monthly fine of €50 ($57), a penalty that’ll be doubled in February. “It’s the price to pay for health,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

Austria: The government is planning to slap all unvaccinated adults with fines of up to $4,108 beginning in mid-March.

Canada: The Quebec government announced last week that unvaccinated adults will soon have to pay a financial penalty. Quebec’s premier said the policy was a “question of fairness” for the 90% of Quebec adults who are vaccinated.

The US: President Biden’s vax-or-test mandate for large employers, which could have led to fines up to $136,000, was struck down by the Supreme Court last week. Still, a number of corporations have implemented some form of “no-vax tax” on employees anyway: Delta is charging unvaccinated staff on its health plan an extra $200/month, and Kroger eliminated paid leave for unvaxed employees who get Covid.—NF

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