Those who have spurned vaccination against Covid-19 may soon see their decision come to a head.
They have been protected, to a degree, from the potential negative consequences of that decision by the collective efforts and sacrifices to eliminate the virus.
Lockdowns, strict border controls and widespread acceptance of public health measures have kept Covid out of most of our communities.
Many Kiwis, especially those outside Auckland, have been able to live fairly normal lives with little fear or risk of coming into contact with Covid since the end of the first lockdown.
Perhaps that was a factor in the decision of some not to get a jab, or why some have lacked urgency.
For a hesitant person, a lack of likelihood of coming into contact with the virus is one more reason not to take the shot. Why protect yourself against an enemy you can't see?
They must have known the day would come when this form of tacit protection would end and the enemy would arrive at their gates.
The spread of the highly contagious Delta variant beyond Auckland's borders into Waikato and Northland, along with acknowledgment from the Government that the elimination strategy is over, indicates that day is coming soon.
Epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker told NZME yesterday all New Zealanders must plan on encountering Covid before Christmas.
This leaves unvaccinated people with more decisions to make.
As Bay of Plenty District Health Board chief executive Pete Chandler said, Covid-19 is now becoming "essentially a disease of the unvaccinated".
"It's now time for anyone not yet vaccinated to make a call. You have a right to say no, but with that right comes additional responsibilities – how are you going to keep yourself and your whānau safe when Covid is here?"
Vaccination is not absolute protection, but it is absolutely the best way to greatly reduce the risk of catching Covid, becoming seriously ill with it, and spreading it to others - potentially including people you love, those with other conditions that make them vulnerable to severe reactions to the virus, and the doctors and nurses we all count on - for an extended period.
A decision not to vaccinate is an individual choice with collective consequences.
According to the Ministry of Health, the evidence shows two doses of the Phizer vaccine offers 64-95 per cent effectiveness against symptomatic illness, and 90-96 per cent against hospitalisation or severe disease due to a Delta infection.
While some fully vaccinated people may have breakthrough infections of the virus and spread it, the evidence has shown they are likely to be infectious for a much shorter time than unvaccinated people with Covid.
An unvaccinated person who catches Covid simply presents more of a risk. It's why measures are being prepared to try to keep unvaccinated people away from mass gatherings.
Hospitals are readying for Covid patients but their capacity to cope has limits, and the risk of services being overwhelmed is real.
If the coming presence of Delta in our community tips the scales for some in favour of getting vaccinated, it is not too late. There are plenty of vaccines and opportunities available.
On a visit to Rotorua on Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the vaccination "individual armour".
The enemy is approaching the gates. Time to suit up.