Monday, August 2, 2021

Coronavirus Update 8–2–2021: Employers, now is the time to mandate Covid vaccines

As short as a few weeks ago, I'd have told you that the choice to get vaccinated is a personal one, and that employers that mandated the Covid vaccine for their employees were over-stepping into their employees' medical privacy.

That was before last week's news that the Delta variant has taken hold and taken off. As we now know that Delta is more transmissible than the chickenpox or the common flu, impacting younger people, and likely more dangerous than prior variants, our country is in a dark place with this virus, and it's rapidly getting darker.

On a macro level, "Hot Vax Summer" needs to grind to a screeching halt, and likely should have never happened in the first place. The country reopened too quickly, and unvaccinated people did not heed the CDC's guidance. "Unmasked" was intended for the fully vaccinated only, not for everyone. 

The grim reality is now more clear than ever — you will either get vaccinated or you will get Covid. And if you're not going to get vaccinated, you need to wear a mask, period. I will not entertain any debate, because it's not rational. 

This brings me back to my original point — what does all of this mean on a micro level for your business and its employees?

The only way we are going to stop this virus is the only way we were ever going to stop it — getting enough people vaccinated. With vaccination rates only hovering around 50 percent we are losing that battle, and therefore losing the war against Covid.

Thus, now is the time for employers to take a stand against this virus by mandating the vaccine for employees (subject to reasonable accommodation obligations). Some, like Facebook, Google, Walmart, Disney, and the federal government, already have. Many, many more will follow suit in the coming weeks. If Biden drops the hammer and mandates vaccines for all 28 million employees of federal contractors … it's game over on this issue.

If you are hesitant to mandate the vaccine because you worry about losing employees and being unable to fill those vacancies in the current job market, you at least must know the vaccination status of each of your employees and mandate masks (and even daily Covid tests) for those who are unvaccinated. Otherwise, you are just allowing this virus to continue circulating in your workplace, sacrificing employees' and their families' health and welfare. The longer this virus circulates, the more opportunities it has to mutate into a more virulent and dangerous variant that will ultimately evade all of our immunities and put us back in a place worse than square one. Trust me, we do not want to see Epsilon, Zeta, or beyond.

The bottom line: get your shot or wear a mask. These have been the recommendations all along, and your failure to follow them has gotten us to the scary place in which we now find ourselves.