The Trump administration has approved two vaccines, manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, to be distributed throughout the U.S. However, a significant portion of the population is apprehensive about taking it. Even some of the frontline healthcare workers are refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently said that 60 percent of nursing home workers in his state have opted out of vaccination. He said that everyone is free to make their own choices and that he will not force people, but he hopes that the majority of workers will get vaccinated. The governor also warned that this opportunity “may not come back for a while.”
In Texas, a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 29 percent of healthcare employees were “vaccine-hesitant.” One doctor from the Houston Medical Memorial Center revealed that half the nurses working in the facility rejected the vaccine. Many of them cited political reasons.
In New York, over 50 percent of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers are skeptical of the vaccine. A survey of firefighters found that over half would refuse if the vaccine were offered to them. Union president Andy Ansbro said that some of these firefighters might have already contracted the virus and believes that they do not need to be vaccinated.
“As a union, we are encouraging our members to get the vaccine, but we are defending their right to make that choice… I personally feel this vaccine is safe. I’ve done my own research. I will be getting the vaccine, and I will be encouraging other members to do so. In the end, it is their own personal choice,” he told NBC News.
In California, one of the hardest-hit states from the CCP virus, 50 percent of healthcare workers from St. Elizabeth Community Hospital, Tehama County, did not take the vaccine when it was offered. Among the workers at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, the rejection rate was 20 percent. According to estimates from the LA County public health officials, between 20 to 40 percent of frontline workers have rejected it.
The widespread refusal to get inoculated could hinder Washington’s attempts to suppress the pandemic. Harvard epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch warned that society can only get back to normal when as many people as possible are protected. Some experts have estimated that 85 percent of the American population has to be vaccinated to develop herd immunity.
Some businesses are considering making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for employees
As the number of people choosing not to get vaccinated grows, a few businesses have begun to consider making COVID-19 inoculation mandatory. Though some workers are against such policies, there’s not much they can do if the business decides to go forward with mandatory vaccination.
“They [businesses] think it gives them a competitive advantage… They could say to their customers, ‘Hey, our restaurant is safe. All of our employees have been vaccinated’… Under the law, an employer can force an employee to get vaccinated, and if they don’t take it, fire them,” Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney, told CNBC.
In December, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a report stating that a mandatory vaccination policy implemented by a business would come under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970). It declares that it is the legal duty of employers to keep the workplace healthy and safe. By requiring employees to get the CCP virus vaccination, business owners would be within their legal means.