No to Vaccine Mandates
The COVID-19 vaccines offer personal protection from severe disease, they do not stop infection or transmission, nor do they impact community case rates. In places like England that track infections by vaccination status, as of last week, in every age over 30, case rates are higher in vaccinated than un-vaccinated cohorts. This doesn’t mean that vaccines don’t offer substantial personal benefit, but it does mean that mandating them as a condition of employment is unethical, as the only rationale for doing so, would be to reduce spread. They are clearly do not serve that purpose. When we consider that vaccination rates are significantly lower among minority communities here in Massachusetts (white 73%; black 66%; Hispanic 59%; Asian 79%) and the U.S. overall, the disparate impact of such policies adds to their moral indefensibility. When put into the broader context of a labor shortage, it seems plain batty.
Hospitals were not overwhelmed during the original surge. They will not be over-whelmed now with 3 effective vaccines—unless we bar unvaccinated staff from working. Current and prior hospital utilization is available here.
Vaccination rates are NOT tied to lower unemployment. Quite the opposite. The 10 states with the highest vaccination rates have nearly 50% higher unemployment than the 10 least-vaccinated. In Massachusetts, the August unemployment rate was 5%--nearly 80% higher than pre-pandemic (2.8%) and is now trending back up.