Enough Is Enough: Mandate The Damn Vaccine
The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that vaccine resisters are senselessly prolonging. Unfortunately, these dullards aren't into public safety, even if they technically work in the public safety field. For instance, the New York Police Department revealed last week that just 43 percent of its officers and public support staff is vaccinated. How is such a low number even possible when Krispy Kreme gave away free doughnuts?
I thought y’all said policing was about public safety? https://t.co/tMr782vw0s— Jamaal Bowman (@Jamaal Bowman)1626907020.0
Since vaccines became available we have encouraged our employees, especially those who have contact with the public, to get vaccinated ...
While we have stopped short of compelling uniformed officers to be vaccinated by rule — which would likely face lengthy legal challenges — we have focused our efforts on strong education and encouragement.
Now, that's depressing. If the police can't sufficiently educate cops so they'll take a shot to save their own lives, how can we expect the police to ever sufficiently educate cops so they won't take a shot at unarmed Black people?
In the military, just 51 percent of service members across all branches are partially vaccinated. Although more than a dozen vaccines, including the annual flu shot, are mandatory for service members, the perfectly safe vaccine for a deadly disease is not. Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie has introduced legislation that would prohibit a vaccine mandate for the armed forces and has claimed it would threaten military readiness. Democrats sensibly believe that service members should protect themselves against COVID-19 if they're going to stand on that metaphorical wall and protect us.
You might assume the healthcare profession would have few vaccine resisters, and if so, your faith in humanity is adorable. According to the American Medical Association, 96 percent of doctors are vaccinated (hooray!) but a recent analysis reveals that one in five healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients weren't vaccinated as of May. It's even worse among the nation's 50 largest hospitals, where about one in three healthcare workers are unvaccinated.
These hospital workers claim they're declining the vaccine because it's too new and not yet fully approved by the FDA. The FDA also doesn't approve spreading COVID-19 to sick people.
"I am not vaccinated," says a social services worker for AdventHealth Gordon [in Calhoun, Georgia] who asked that her name not be used because she was unauthorized to speak to Medscape Medical News and Georgia Health News (who collaborated on this project). "I just have not felt the need to do that at this time."
What the hell is wrong with these people?
We've tried such vaccine carrots as lotteries, doughnuts, and beer. Now, it's time for the stick. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has mandated that employees of the city's public hospital and health clinic systems can either get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests. He also announced Monday that he's expanding the order to include the city's entire workforce — 300,000 municipal workers.
California is following suit, and Governor Gavin Newsom declared that the state will have the "strongest vaccine verification system in the US." This would affect the 246,000 state employees and at least two million healthcare workers in California's public and private sectors.
"Too many people have chosen to live with this virus," Newsom said during a press briefing where he announced the new vaccination requirement, which will take effect next month.
The Democratic governor added, "We're at a point in this epidemic, this pandemic, where individuals' choice not to get vaccinated is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way."
The labor unions aren't thrilled. Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, released a statement saying that vaccinations must "be negotiated between employers and workers, not coerced." We thought it was a fair bargain already: Get vaccinated or stay home.
Henry A. Garrido, the executive director of District Council 37, New York City's largest municipal employees union, tweeted some nonsense that ended with “#cityworkerslivesmatter," because apparently mandating vaccinations creates an unhealthy work environment.
President Joe Biden has said he won't impose national mandates, but his administration supports private employers taking the necessary steps to keep their employees and customers safe. Enough all ready. It's time we got serious about this. It's time to mandate the hell out of vaccines.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."