The woman who designed the Astrazeneca vaccine has issued a warning the Delta variant is so transmissible it will eventually "reach everybody who is not vaccinated", sparking predictions that those that refuse the jab may soon become shunned and ostracised.
Professor Sarah Gilbert, the scientist who was given a standing ovation at Wimbledon for her contribution to the global fight against Covid-19, issued a prediction this week that the quest for elimination was futile.
"With the Delta variant, which is spreading so rapidly, it's going to reach everybody who is not vaccinated and also reach those people who are vaccinated and even if they then get infected they tend to have a much milder disease," she told the ABC's 7:30.
"So really we can't hide from this virus anymore. Initial plans were to try to eliminate the virus. That's not going to be possible with the versions that we have spreading now. We have to be prepared to meet it and to deal with it, and that means vaccination."
It's a scenario that's already playing out in Australia. But now some commentators are taking that prediction a step further explaining how it will shape our lives for years into the future.
Unvaccinated 'walking time bombs'
Writing in The Australian newspaper, columnist Robert Gottliebsen forecast a world where the unvaccinated are regarded with suspicion and caution.
"If Professor Gilbert is right, then prepare for a world that Australia has never experienced before," Gottliebsen wrote.
"Those without a vaccination certificate will be seen as walking timebombs to be avoided by the vaccinated.
"While all the unvaccinated will be 'reached' by the virus not all will be infected, but given the power of the delta variant, a great many will become infected. The percentage of the population that are vulnerable is higher than 20 per cent because the '80 per cent target' does not include children aged under 16.
"It's true that the vast majority of vaccinated people will avoid hospitalisation if they catch the virus but they will still be very anxious to avoid it because often it is not a pleasant experience.
"A big proportion of the vaccinated majority will not enter work sites where unvaccinated co-employees have been allowed to enter. Those with medical reasons for non-vaccination may need to find jobs where they can work from home.
"Similarly, whether it be a supermarket, cafe, pub, bank, aircraft, public transport or events including sporting contest, cinemas and theatres, the vaccinated will require an assurance from those operating the premises or means of travel that when the vaccinated enter there will be no unvaccinated people present. The unvaccinated may need to spend much of their time at home. There will be protests."
And he warned that so-called "hermit kingdom" states will not be spared.
"The hospitalisation horrors that are likely in NSW and Victoria (I think NSW is better prepared) which will follow the lowering of business restrictions will cause those states with low infection rates to reconsider opening their borders,'' he said.
"That will almost certainly apply to Western Australia and Tasmania and probably Queensland."
NSW pubs and restaurants that serve unvaccinated customers to face fines
It's a future that appears to be arriving already in Sydney. This week, NSW announced tough new fines for businesses that allow unvaccinated customers to enter pubs and restaurants. Travel bans will apply to the unvaccinated who may be unable to cross state borders.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barillaro confirmed this week there will be big fines for pubs and restaurants that allow the unvaccinated inside the premises.
"There will be a poster on the front window to say the business is vaccinated,'' he said.
"There will be significant fines for breaches."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that a QR code system will be used to check your vaccination status.
"If you want to go and buy something which is regarded as a non-essential shop, you will put up the QR code and if it is not a green light saying you have been vaccinated, you won't be welcome inside,'' she said.
"It's time to start shunning the 'vaccine hesitant'. They're blocking Covid herd immunity"
In a recent column for USA Today, former federal prosecutor Michael J Stern went further, suggesting it was time to start "shunning" the unvaccinated.
"For the better part of a year, as the coronavirus racked up hundreds of thousands of American deaths, the flickering light at the end of the tunnel was herd immunity — the antibody force shield that comes when enough people have survived the illness or have been vaccinated against it,'' he wrote.
"But herd immunity is slipping away because a quarter of Americans are refusing to get the Covid-19 vaccine. "There is no eradication at this point, it's off the table," Dr Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, recently said. "We as a society have rejected" herd immunity.
"We need a different strategy. I propose shunning. Soon everyone who wants a vaccine will have one. When that happens, restaurants, movie theatres, gyms, barbers, airlines and Ubers should require proof of vaccination before providing their services.
"And it shouldn't stop there. Businesses should make vaccination a requirement for employment. A Covid-19 outbreak can shut down a business and be financially devastating. And failure to enforce basic health and safety measures is not fair to employees who have to work in offices, factories and stores where close contact is required. Things should get personal, too: People should require friends to be vaccinated to attend the barbecues and birthday parties they host."