At least we have proof that ignorant, self-destructive stubbornness is not a uniquely American trait: Witness the big and raucous weekend protests in Europe, Australia and elsewhere against coronavirus vaccine mandates that are intended to do nothing more sinister than save those protesters’ lives.

A shocking riot in Rotterdam that the Dutch city’s mayor called an “orgy of violence.” A huge demonstration that filled the streets of Vienna. Protests in Belgium, Italy and Switzerland. Big “freedom marches” in Sydney, Melbourne and other major Australian cities. Chaotic unrest in the normally laid-back Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, a French territory.

Most of those places have decreed mandates and restrictions that go beyond anything imposed or even contemplated in the United States. Some of the governments under fire have arguably been tougher than necessary. Austria is going all the way — imposing a nationwide lockdown and announcing that all citizens eligible to get vaccinated must get the jab, period, whether they want it or not.

But the misguided anti-vaccine rallying call is basically the same around the world: We want our freedom! And the result, sadly, is that all of us — protesters included — will be less free to resume our normal lives.

It is becoming clear that a new wave of covid-19 is gathering strength. The situation is worsening most rapidly in Europe, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the present surge could end up being worse than anything her nation has seen to date. Health Minister Jens Spahn was more melodramatic, saying Monday that by the end of winter, “just about everyone in Germany will probably be either vaccinated, recovered or dead.”

More cases but fewer deaths: Is that some kind of paradox? Not at all. It’s the result of the fact that nearly 60 percent of Americans, and around 80 percent of those most vulnerable to hospitalization and death, have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. U.S. cases of covid-19 are also rising again; according to The Post’s tally, on Monday the seven-day average number of cases was 92,904, an 11.6 percent increase from Monday of last week. But the average of daily deaths was 1,116, a 4.6 percent decrease from a week earlier.

The vaccination totals in the European countries now having such trouble are generally as good as ours or even better, however. And the history of this pandemic has been that what happens first in Europe happens next in the United States.

If a winter wave of covid-19 is inevitable, then, the key to minimizing it — and having something like a normal holiday season — is, you guessed it, vaccination. Those who have never been vaccinated need to get over themselves and roll up their sleeves. And those who were vaccinated more than six months ago need to get a booster shot.

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The unvaccinated are the bigger problem, because they are the group most likely to be infected with the coronavirus, to spread it to others, to become sick enough to require hospitalization and — tragically and unnecessarily — to die.

They are the virus’s best friends because they give it a big pool of welcoming hosts. Come in and make yourself comfortable, they effectively say. Feel free to experiment with new mutations. Maybe you’ll get lucky and develop one that the vaccines can’t defeat. If you do, I’ll pass it along to my friends and family.

Of lesser but growing concern is the fact that Americans who rushed to get vaccinated in the spring are not moving quickly enough to get the one-shot boosters that are now available to all. We now know that the protection offered by the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine wanes over time. Just because you were “fully vaccinated” in March or April doesn’t mean you’re still “fully vaccinated.” You should get that booster.

Those who try to make people believe that the vaccines “are not preventing infection,” as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) claimed last week, are lying. The vaccines prevent most infections, but not all. They make it more difficult to transmit the virus to someone else, but not impossible. Most important, being vaccinated means that if you do get infected, unless you also have some condition that keeps the vaccine from boosting your immune system — like the late Colin L. Powell, who had multiple myeloma — you almost surely will not become gravely ill or die.

Anti-vaccination zealots here and abroad who demand their “freedom” have it exactly backward. The vaccines can free us from this plague, if we will let them. The unchecked virus offers only tyranny.