Should We Still Be Forcing Employees To Be Vaccinated?

            I love this week between Christmas and New Year. Not much is happening at work; it is time to catch up with family and friends. A time to take stock. A time to rest.
            I tend to do a lot of reading and writing during the week. Sometimes, I go down rabbit holes on the Internet.
            Earlier this week, with all of the news about COVID ramping up yet again, I was curious about when the virus first made news in America. The earliest story I could find was in the New York Times on January 6, 2020. Looking at the stories from that time, there was a lot that we did not know.
            Turns out, there is still a lot we don’t know as we enter our third year of the pandemic.
            I am finally coming around to the view that many embraced a while ago: nobody really knows much about this virus. And nobody in charge seems to have a clear idea about how to address it. Seems like an awful lot of flailing to me.
            I have gotten my Moderna shots and my booster. My experience is that the Moderna vaccine and booster have been effective in keeping me from getting any symptoms of COVID. The virus has been in my home a couple of times, but to date I have managed to avoid it.
            What does that mean for you and the rest of the world? Absolutely nothing from what I can tell. I take it to mean that for me, a 53-year-old guy with high blood pressure, the Moderna vaccine and booster taken according to guidelines did what it was supposed to do. And that is all.
            I guess that it might be better to be vaccinated than not. But I am not convinced that you have to get vaccinated. And I am not convinced that we as mere humans can stop this scourge brought upon us by Mother Nature. Thinking that we can is, frankly, the height of arrogance.
            Which leads me to my concern this week.
       This morning, one of my clients received notice that their employer was implementing the Biden administration’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS issued by OSHA. The ETS (Emergency Temporary Standard) is intended to “protect” employees.
            Under the ETS, employers with over 100 employees must be informed of the vaccination status of each employee. Upon receipt of that information, the employer then gives unvaccinated employees a choice: agree to receive a vaccination or undergo regular weekly testing.
            OSHA says that “Unvaccinated Workers Face Grave Danger,” as if that is a fact. I am not so sure. Right now, from what I have seen, unvaccinated workers have made a reasoned (possibly disputable) choice not to get the vaccine. The danger associated with COVID could be as great as death, but that is a rare occurrence. Usually, COVID causes cold and flu-like symptoms that typically resolve within ten days – not a grave danger.
            Still, the ETS is being forced upon workers even though what we know about COVID changes from day to day and is often contradictory.
            I said from the beginning that forcing folks to do anything will be disastrous. It remains so. The ETS is not going to change that. It seems like it might make things worse.
            The Supreme Court is taking up the legality of the ETS on Friday. Let’s see where it all stands after that. In the meantime, sit tight.

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