When the Government Turns Hostile: Life for the Unvaccinated Made Virtually Impossible in Lithuania

By Victor Westerkamp | October 20, 2021
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A man is restrained by police as demonstrators take part in a protest on September 10, 2021 in Vilnius, Lithuania against their government's Covid-19 policies, which include an attempt to introduce a mandatory health pass for access to cafes, shops, public transportation vehicles and other venues.
A man is restrained by police as demonstrators take part in a protest on September 10, 2021 in Vilnius, Lithuania against their government's Covid-19 policies, which include an attempt to introduce a mandatory health pass for access to cafes, shops, public transportation vehicles and other venues. (Image: Paulius Peleckis via Getty Images)

In a desperate outcry for help, a Lithuanian man shared his insights on social life in his homeland—or lack thereof for the unvaccinated and those without a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine passport.

Known as Gluboko Lietuva on Twitter, he revealed how he and his wife were left bereft of their jobs, income, and social life after the government introduced the Opportunity Pass, which grants access to activities in society for the vaccinated or those willing to get tested frequently.

“I’m a very ordinary man,” Gluboko says. “I’ve never cared about politics. I’ve never been to a protest in my life. In short, I’m not political and I’m not an activist. But I am moral. And what is happening is morally wrong. Deeply, deeply wrong.”

“With no Covid Pass, my wife and I are banished from society. We have no income. Banned from most shopping. Can barely exist,” he writes. “My wife and I have been suspended without pay for 4 weeks. We can’t return to our jobs.”

“We can’t find new jobs in our professions. My wife and I have very different jobs in very different fields. But all jobs in both our fields now require the Covid Pass. No Pass, no job.”

The pass, which is euphemistically called the Opportunity Pass, was introduced in May but was seriously upgraded on Aug. 16 with increased restrictions against people who did not have a valid pass. Measures in full effect since Sept. 13 include:

  • Those without a pass can only access indoor marketplaces and shops with essential goods smaller than 1,500 sq m and with street-level access.
  • Separate customer flows for passport holders in pharmacies inside shopping centers.
  • No indoor areas of cafes, eateries, and bars for those without a pass.
  • Services at home for a maximum of 15 minutes of close contact for those without a pass.
  • Passes are required for outdoor and indoor events with more than 500 people.

Lithuania is a small European Union (EU) country of 2.8 million people located along the Baltic Sea. It was under Soviet oppression from 1944 to 1990. While Lithuanians managed to cast off the yoke of the communist regime, Gluboko says it is now sliding down to a state of “technocratic health authoritarianism.”

The state is accused of stirring up hate against the unvaccinated. Influencers, politicians, officials, media, and the educated elite have openly wished death upon opponents of the Pass. According to Gluboko, some mainstream leaders have said the following:

  • “People who do not get vaccinated are a threat to our health, to the country’s economy, to business, and to human life.”
  • “I urge you to avoid associating with the unvaccinated because associating with the deliberately unvaccinated is the same as getting into a car with a drunk driver.”
  • “If you don’t get vaccinated, then go prepare your grave.”
  • “To not vaccinate yourself means that you will spread it because anyone who does not vaccinate is a potential spreader. Not vaccinating yourself, and encouraging others to not vaccinate, are not yet crimes. We are – still – gentle and polite. But therefore, we suffer because we do not stop the unvaccinated with the force of law and order. However, it can be done. We are at war. Let us reflect among ourselves and the coalition government on whether the state is really doing everything it can to fight the virus that is the anti-vaxxers.”

Gluboko ends his plea with a call to humanity to stand together and hold their ground against tyranny, mainly by shining the light into the darkness and spreading the message.

“This new authoritarian control will only grow to ban ever more behavior as bureaucrats push to expand their power,” he writes.

“I’m just an ordinary man trapped in a Kafkaesque world of mind-numbing absurdity. So I’d be grateful for your help to share this message so that together, we can unite to stop this madness.”