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New York’s health care worker vaccination mandate is a success, despite the predictions of the media’s doomed sinners


As pressure grew on President Joe Biden to institute vaccine mandates – and especially after he did so – the public was drenched with media warnings that he had made a grave mistake and that it would backfire badly in the fight against ending COVID-19 Pandemic.

On CNN, Jake Tapper criticized Biden for his alleged insensitivity to the unvaccinated, saying: “He scolds the people who are lied to as opposed to the liars.” He pleaded with Biden to “educate” people instead of using that energetic approach, as if the willfully unvaccinated were innocent victims rather than people deliberately looking for disinformation.

“Biden’s vaccination mandates could put more lives at risk,” warned a similar Washington Post comment by David Yamamoto, a district commissioner in rural Oregon.

This follows another July Washington Post comment entitled, “Vaccine mandates will backfire. People will put up even more resistance.” Conservative Professors Taylor Dotson and Nicholas Tampio argue that “convincing Americans” is “more politically tenable and would serve better”. [Biden’s] Aim to bring the pandemic under control. “

“Ex-FDA commissioner Gottlieb says Biden’s vaccination mandate could backfire,” said an NPR headline shortly after Biden’s announcement.

“But getting the unvaccinated to get their vaccinations won’t work in the long run,” warned Yasmin Tayag in the Atlantic, while both admitted that “vaccination regulations increase vaccination rates” while claiming that “this approach could backfire at some point “.

New York marked the first major test as the state implemented a major jab-or-job mandate for healthcare workers on Monday. In the days leading up to the deadline, the media’s doom arts grew into a cacophony, with the press repeating the GOP’s talking point that tens of thousands of health workers would rather lose their jobs than leave Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, to say Tell them what to do.

The New York Times headlines on Tuesday morning, however, sang in a different tone: “Thousands of New York health workers vaccinated before deadline” and “New York health workers are rushing to get vaccinated to avert a staffing crisis”.

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In fact, so many people have been vaccinated at the last minute that the percentage of healthcare workers who receive at least one dose of vaccine is now 92% among the state’s hospital workers. For nursing home workers, the percentage rose from 84% to 92% by Monday. And that’s just the preliminary status data. When full coverage is available, it can be even more robust. Individual hospital systems have certainly shown that the mandates work. In Rochester, a hospital warned “patients not to expect longer waiting times for routine appointments as the deadline loomed last week.” But by Monday they had “raised their employees’ vaccination rate to 95.5 percent,” and only 300 out of 16,000 employees are expected to be laid off.

This reflects what has happened in other workplaces that have mandated mandates, particularly United Airlines, which increased their vaccination rate to 97% before their mandate expired.

To be fair, it’s not ridiculous to think that many people would rather lose their jobs than get the vaccine. Thousands of people literally die every week, many because they picked up on the idea from Fox News and social media that the bump makes you a bad Republican. COVID-19’s hot spots are largely determined by partisan affiliation, to the point where it contributes to the population decline in the redder parts of the country. If people are ready to die on this hill, why are they not ready to lose their jobs?

Mainly because certainty counts when it comes to consequences. People can convince themselves that their own risk of dying from COVID-19 is small. However, when the risk of losing a job is 100%, that is much more difficult to argue. Especially when it is very tedious or even impossible to get a job in your field elsewhere due to industry-wide vaccine mandates.

That so many people persevered until the last minute to get their vaccine is proof of that. For some it was undoubtedly a procrastination. Also, given the partisan nature of the vaccine debate, it is likely that a significant number of these people are conservatives, waiting to see if Hochul is serious about the mandate or if she could be intimidated into resigning. When she did not retire, they chose their jobs over “beliefs” about vaccines, which in many cases magically manifested only a few months ago.

In fact, the entire discourse on labor rights and labor shortages, especially in the health sector, has been misleading. Warnings that vaccine mandates could lead to labor shortages only work if one ignores the far bigger labor problem right now, namely COVID-19 itself. There is a national burnout problem caused by the pandemic and no one is more affected than workers in the Healthcare. Nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers work long hours without vacation, watching how many people regularly die from COVID-19. A survey by the American Medical Association found that nearly half of healthcare workers report burnout, and 38% have anxiety or depression.

The end of the pandemic will bring real relief to healthcare workers, and that will not be possible without mass vaccinations. And that means vaccine mandates. As much as a small minority may moan about the mandates, the mandates will make the life and work of healthcare workers significantly less stressful in both the short and long term.

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The bad faith right wing’s unfortunate acceptance by the media of the “right” to not vaccinate has also distracted from the real issue of mandates and workers’ rights: safety in the workplace. Vaccinations offer great protection from their unvaccinated counterparts, but with the Delta variant, breakthrough infections are still a real risk. For medical personnel with children under the age of 12 who cannot yet be vaccinated, the risk of passing on a breakthrough infection from an unvaccinated colleague to family members is particularly serious.

Those who support workers’ rights should see vaccination regulations in the same light as other health and safety standards in the workplace. From the usual hygiene regulations on “hand washing” to rules against sexual harassment – a central component of labor rights has always been the obligation of employees to behave in such a way that the workplace is safe. Vaccination mandates are no different, which is why Republicans never objected to them until deciding that it is politically strategic to unnecessarily spread a pandemic in hopes of undermining Biden’s presidency.

Apparently, millions of Republican voters were willing to listen to malicious trolls like Fox News presenters who advise against vaccination while clearly vaccinating themselves. The idea that there ever was a “persuasion strategy” that could overcome GOP voters’ endless desire to “own the libraries” was always a joke. But now we have concrete evidence in the form of a last minute rush among healthcare workers to get the vaccine that requires work. Employers and political leaders across the country shouldn’t shy away from getting mandates by firing anyone who doesn’t get a shot. And the Biden administration, witnessing the effectiveness of the New York mandate, should expand federal vaccine mandates immediately. You can start banning the unvaccinated from flying before vaccine resistances spread COVID-19 for the holidays.


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