Vaccination Drives Wedge Between Colleagues

  • By Lee Hae-in

    September 16, 2021 13:11

    Rifts are opening between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, particularly in offices where old habits die hard.

    After-work gatherings are only really an option for vaccinated people, and those who are still waiting for their shot often feel left out or ostracized.

    "Exceptions from the gathering ban for vaccinated people end up becoming a form of discrimination of those who haven't been inoculated," one 41-year-old office worker said. "When my colleagues invite others for dinner and drinks after work these days, they ask who has been vaccinated and people like myself who have not feel like a burden on others."

    Under current lockdown rules, up to six people can gather after 6 p.m., but only if four of them are vaccinated.

    A restaurant in Seoul announces seating guidelines on Sept. 6. /Yonhap

    Some alarmists shun co-workers who have not been vaccinated. A 29-year-old bank worker who lives with his 80-year-old grandmother said, "I avoid going to private gatherings with co-workers who haven't been inoculated for the sake of my grandmother."

    Such subtle discrimination can feel like bullying. One 34-year-old staffer at a university hospital in South Chungcheong Province said, "I plan to have a baby and delayed getting vaccinated, but my co-workers have been making me feel uncomfortable for the past three months. Because of hospital rules for unvaccinated workers, I have to take a COVID-19 test every week, and I don't feel very good when my co-workers ask me why I'm not getting vaccinated."

    One 32-year-old office worker who said he did not get vaccinated for fear of side effects, said, "It seems like people greet each other these days by asking if they got the jab. I've been telling them I was unable to secure a leftover vaccine, but the company started offering onsite vaccination and I was forced to make a reservation after Chuseok. But I still feel jittery."

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