I suppose it would be too severe to insist on the unvaccinated carrying bells and shouting "unclean", just as lepers in Europe had to do in the Middle Ages.
But we do need to find a way of making people's decision not to get vaccinated unacceptable.
If shame and persuasion won't work, a heavier hand is needed.
The state already compels us to do things. The law says we have to get our children educated. We have to turn up to vote (though whether we then actually vote is up to us).
We have to wear seat belts. Australia led the way in 1970 and the rest of the world followed, by now without a murmur.
Since the Bali bombings, government agencies have been given more powers to intrude on our private lives.
As former prime minister Tony Abbott put it: "There is no greater responsibility - on me, on the government - than keeping you safe." Few of us disagreed.
Individual rights are often restricted in the interests of the greater good.
As the Australian philosopher Peter Singer puts it: "Laws requiring people to be vaccinated if they are going to be in places where they could infect other people are restricting one kind of freedom in order to protect the freedom of others to go about their business safely."
We now need to think about acceptable infringements of individual freedoms. Just as we've all become epidemiologists over the past 18 months, we now need to become philosophers and argue about ethics.
Out-and-out compulsion is clearly out.
They learnt that in Britain. In 1853, the British National Vaccination Act compelled parents to have newborn children vaccinated against smallpox. Deaths fell dramatically, but there was a backlash against the law. There were riots and the Anti-Vaccination League was formed.
Lawmakers recognised the need for a more nuanced approach. The concept of conscientious objection was born in the Vaccination Act of 1898. Penalties on those who we now call "anti-vaxxers" were softened.
In our current situation, the few true conscientious objectors should have a get-out, as they do with military service.
But conscientious objectors in times of war pay a heavy price for not bearing arms. They are fined and imprisoned. Their costly defiance demonstrates the genuineness of their beliefs.
It should be the same with devout anti-vaxxers. A period of time reflecting behind bars would concentrate minds wonderfully.
A higher Medicare levy for the unvaccinated would be attractive, but politically unacceptable. The principle of charging more for healthcare to those with unhealthy lifestyles would cause a furore (though that's what insurance companies do). Smokers are not at the back of the queue for cancer treatment.
Employers are showing the way. Some who have businesses dealing with people are having no truck with anti-vaxxers. If you want to fly, you will need double jabs. The founder of Hungry Jack's foresees requiring vaccine passports to enter restaurants, though he acknowledges enforcement will be "awkward".
On Monday, the Fair Work Commission again rejected a claim by a receptionist at an aged care facility that she was unfairly sacked for refusing a flu jab.
The case will go to the Federal Court, but if the law rules in her favour, then "the law is an ass - an idiot," as Dickens put it in Oliver Twist.
There can be no cogent argument against flu vaccinations for those who deal with frail people. Or against COVID vaccinations for those who live in crowded cities yearning for herd immunity, and its economic and mental health benefits.
I've been talking to someone I know in Queanbeyan. He says "Don't call me an anti-vaxxer" - except that's what he is, complete with the nonsense conspiracies about secret plots to take over the world. Bill Gates is involved somehow.
He has finally and reluctantly decided to get vaccinated. Before the pandemic he would go to Africa, and he wants to resume that work. He knows he will need a vaccine passport, so the jabs are in.
It would be nice to think that anti-vaxx sentiment will evaporate as the refuseniks see the reality of defiance.
But there's a lot of stupidity out there. Those who cling to it need to be pushed in the right direction by shame and by tough rules.
Bells for the unclean, anyone?
- Steve Evans is a Canberra Times reporter.