It's been months since safe, effective, free vaccines against COVID-19 became widely available to the public, but—in the absence of herd immunity—the threat of deadlier, vaccine resistant variants still looms.
A key driver of lagging vaccination rates are vaccine skeptics, many of whom have fallen for far-right conspiracy theories regarding vaccines—theories like the vaccine is secretly magnetized or microchipped, and even that it's the biblical "mark of the beast."
But it's been more than a year and a half since the most deadly pandemic in U.S. history upended daily life in the United States. With the widespread availability of free vaccines, the public has grown weary of accommodating for the willfully unvaccinated. As such, more and more entities are mandating vaccines.
This is especially true for air travel, which saw a near-catastrophic dip in profits as the world went into lockdown. Airlines like JetBlue, American, and United are requiring employees to get the shots. Meanwhile, the White House and Congress are mulling legislation to require vaccinations (or a negative COVID test).
Though vaccine mandates have been implemented for centuries, even by the likes of George Washington himself, vaccine skeptics insist that any sort of mandate or even an effort to encourage vaccinations is un-American.
On Monday, far-right media personality Elijah Schaffer—who accompanied rioters during the January 6 insurrection, referring to them as "revolutionaries"—tweeted that he was considering getting a pilot license and a personal plane in order to bypass potential vaccine mandates for air travel.
"Surprisingly not expensive," he posted.
People scoffed at the ludicrous idea.
After the tweet was heavily mocked, Schaffer insisted that people were actually "so pissed" at him and that he was "loving every second" of it.
But that didn't seem to be the case at all.