Mandating Vaccinations?

Mandates are Legal

America’s nursing home industry failed to prepare or protect residents from COVID-19. The industry’s failure caused  the deaths of more than 180,000 residents and infecting more than 1.4 million, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The EEOC guidance from December 2020 indicates it is legal to allow employers mandate vaccinations. Employers will not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act if they mandate vaccinations. The guidance comes as several long-term care providers have joined a growing industry trend to mandate employee COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment. However, other federal authorities suggest delaying implementation of a mandate until a vaccine receives full licensure by the FDA.

They can also ask about an employee’s vaccination status. The EEOC warns employers that inquiries must be job-related and necessary. Employers must show that the employee could pose a threat due to a significant risk of substantial harm to individuals or others. The employer must provide a reasonable accommodation unless it would pose an undue hardship. Seems fair.

The CDC’s Essential Workers COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit  may help nursing homes educate their employees on the importance and benefits of vaccination against COVID-19. Hopefully, nursing home workers will voluntarily get the vaccine. Incentives and encouragement help.

Vaccination Hesitancy

A powerful anti-vaxxer group is spreading lies and misinformation about the safety of Covid vaccines. The Washington Post had a great article on The Informed Consent Action Network. TV producer Del Bigtree started the conspiracy group in Texas. Bigtree spoke at the January 6, 2021 pro-Trump rally preceding the riot at the Capitol.

He produced the propaganda film Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe.  The discredited “science” in the movie alleges an unsubstantiated connection between vaccines and autism. ICAN pays millions to Siri & Glimstad, a Park Avenue law firm that threatens or files lawsuits across America.

If you or anyone you know is being required by an employer or school to receive a covid-19 vaccine, ICAN is offering to support legal action on your behalf to challenge the requirement.” reads one advertisement.

The group campaigns against requiring vaccines. They are pretty sleazy by citing conspiracy theories, unsubstantiated claims, or claims debunked. Even Facebook and YouTube acted against ICAN because it was “spreading harmful misinformation about Covid-19 that could exacerbate the ongoing public health crisis.”

The Future

At this point, no one is mandating vaccines but someday they might. The FDA fact sheet says it is “your choice to receive or not receive” the shots. The mandate is legal only after full FDA approval and if employers make exceptions for an individual’s health, disability or religious beliefs. Seems reasonable for safety purposes.

An unvaccinated health care worker caused a recent COVID-19 outbreak in a Kentucky nursing home. The outbreak infected 50 people with 3 residents dying. Lawrence Gostin is a professor of health law at Georgetown University. He made a great point:

“Nursing home staff have a right to make decisions about their own health, but they don’t have a right to expose vulnerable residents to a potentially deadly infectious disease.”

Unfortunately, in a “right to work” state like South Carolina, you do not have a right to a job. Your employer may require vaccinations for your safety, and the safety of others. Do not storm the Capitol when it happens.