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While vaccines designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus have been successful,

the number of people who have not been vaccinated is surprisingly and disappointingly high.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker plans to hand out cash prizes to winners of the coronavirus vaccination lottery. Drugstore chains are distributing gift cards to those who get their shots.

But patience is wearing thin, and it’s getting to the point of No More

Mr. Nice Guy.

OK, that’s a bit of a stretch. But the University of Illinois this week announced that it’s opting for compulsion when it comes to students who are reluctant to be vaccinated.

The UI announced it’s requiring that all students who wish to return to campus this fall be vaccinated. Not many weeks after it said it would not adopt compulsion as a vaccination policy, it became the sixth Big Ten university to replace the words “pretty please” to “just do it.”

This approach is spreading across the country, particularly since younger people are among those groups who appear to be most reluctant to be vaccinated.

But it would be a mistake not to acknowledge that reluctance and/or resistance run deep in our society.

Just four states hover around the

60 percent level for fully vaccinated residents — Vermont (64 percent), Massachusetts (60 percent), Maine and Connecticut (59 percent each).

Just 44 percent of Illinois residents have been fully vaccinated, better than Indiana (39 percent) and Missouri

(38 percent).

Those numbers are disappointing, given that the vaccines represent a silver bullet of sorts that are 90 percent-plus effective. They have stopped the virus cold, putting an end to a horrific year that devastated the country in multiple ways.

As a consequence of their use, life here and elsewhere has pretty much returned to normal.

That, of course, does not mean the virus is not still with us. Hospitals still have coronavirus patients, the overwhelming majority of them unvaccinated.

It may well be that some people have legitimate reasons for not being vaccinated. Those who contracted the virus and recovered have good reason to believe that vaccination is not necessary because their experience has left them with some immunity.

But the overwhelming majority of those who have not been vaccinated either reject vaccination as an option or somehow just haven’t gotten around to it.

No-admittance rules, like the UI’s, will solve the problem of those whose lives are so disordered that they just haven’t found the time to get it done.

It’s a different matter altogether for those people who have, as a matter of deliberate intent, said no how, no way to the vaccines.

The view here is better safe than sorry. Plus, those who get a shot can spare themselves from wearing those irritating masks. What’s the big deal?

After all, and for very good reasons, vaccines are part of almost everyone’s life experience.

Still, this is a free country, and it’s a matter of choice. But decisions like that of the UI are making that choice a bit more expensive to exercise.

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