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Opinion Private companies must require vaccines for workers. It's the only way to get past COVID.

11:20  28 november  2021
11:20  28 november  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

Yes, Covid-19 vaccine mandates are legal

  Yes, Covid-19 vaccine mandates are legal What the law says about vaccine mandates, explained.After a local pastor was fined for violating this vaccine mandate, he appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court told him to pound sand in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905).

The United States has made COVID-19 vaccines accessible and free. Go to almost any local pharmacy or pop-up site, and you can easily get the shot – and pay nothing. And yet, only about 50% of Americans are fully vaccinated against this deadly virus.

a person standing in a kitchen: A hospital worker puts on protective gear before entering a patient's room in Royal Oak, Mich., on April 21, 2021. © Carlos Osorio, AP A hospital worker puts on protective gear before entering a patient's room in Royal Oak, Mich., on April 21, 2021.

The unfortunate consequence is that the highly transmissible delta variant is causing surges in cases, hospitalizations and even deaths throughout the country, particularly in spots with low vaccination rates.

The government and experts have tried education and persuasion. The Surgeon General is leading an all-out effort to combat misinformation. President Joe Biden has resorted to pleading. What more can we do to get the United States fully vaccinated and put COVID-19 behind us for good?

Overnight Health Care — White House touts vaccine rate for feds

  Overnight Health Care — White House touts vaccine rate for feds Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care, where we're following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the White House - even before Thanksgiving - as Jill Biden welcomed the White House's tree for the first time as first lady.According to the White House, more than 90 percent of federal workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of today's deadline.For The Hill, we're Peter Sullivan (psullivan@thehill.com), Nathaniel Weixel (nweixel@thehill.com) and Justine Coleman (jcoleman@thehill.com).

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The private sector needs to step up and mandate COVID-19 vaccines for their workers. Vaccine mandates are legal, ethical and, most important, effective.

A void the business sector must fill

The Biden administration cannot and will not introduce a nationwide COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The federal government’s legal authority to issue a vaccine mandate is unclear. More practically, a federal mandate would be nearly impossible to enforce. If someone refused the vaccine, how would the federal government respond?

The politicization of everything related to COVID-19, even masks, also negates this possibility. Going into the 2022 midterms, Democrats are right not to risk political backlash and conservative claims of government overreach.

As White House Touts 90 Percent Vaccinations for Federal Workers, U.S. COVID Cases Rise

  As White House Touts 90 Percent Vaccinations for Federal Workers, U.S. COVID Cases Rise Daily cases are now topping more than 90,000, while more than 30 states are seeing sustained upticks in coronavirus infections ahead of Thanksgiving.In September, the Biden administration set a November 22 deadline for the nation's 3.5 million federal workers to be fully vaccinated. A senior official said a vast majority of those workers have received their vaccination in time, while just 5 percent requested or received an exception or an extension.

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While states’ legal authority to mandate vaccines is well established, similar political concerns and enforcement challenges are present. By late April, more than 40 states had already introduced legislation restricting vaccine mandates, reflecting the harsh polarization such measures generate.

The private sector needs to fill the void. Private employers are in a better position to institute mandates and have precedent to do so. Most health care facilities, many universities and some employers already require vaccines for the flu; measles, mumps, and rubella; HPV and/or meningococcal disease. As workers transition back to in-person activity this summer and fall, employers have a responsibility to keep them all safe.

The mandates are legal. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has made clear that federal laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Courts have backed up employers on this.

Cases soar but Swiss eschew lockdown as COVID law vote looms

  Cases soar but Swiss eschew lockdown as COVID law vote looms GENEVA (AP) — Like many others in Europe, Switzerland is facing a steep rise in coronavirus cases. But its federal government, unlike others, hasn’t responded with new restrictive measures. Analysts say it doesn't want to stir up more opposition to its anti-COVID-19 policies, which face a crucial test at the ballot box this weekend as critics have grown increasingly loud. On Sunday, as part of the country’s regular referendums, Swiss voters will cast ballots about the so-called “COVID-19 law” that has unlocked billions of Swiss francs (dollars) in aid for workers and businesses hit by the pandemic.

a close up of a person: Paola Preciado gets a COVID-19 test in North Miami, Fla., on July 15, 2021. © Marta Lavandier, AP Paola Preciado gets a COVID-19 test in North Miami, Fla., on July 15, 2021.

The mandates are ethical, providing huge benefits that outweigh risks, and higher immunization rates maximize the vaccine’s benefits in the workplace and community.


Video: Mayor De Blasio Urges Private Companies To Require COVID Vaccines For Employees (CBS New York)

And the mandates are effective. Houston Methodist Hospital’s vaccine mandate resulted in a staff vaccination rate of more than 99%. IntegraCare, which operates 13 senior living homes across several states, announced last month that it has reached a 100% vaccination rate among staff.

COVID-19 is soaring: We need COVID-19 mandates to reach herd immunity. Start by requiring vaccine proof to fly.

Many employers have already had the courage to lead on mandates. Nearly 600 universities have required students to get COVID-19 vaccines for the fall. And like our own, the University of Pennsylvania, many have also mandated that faculty and staff be vaccinated. New employees at United and Delta airlines must be vaccinated. Even the show “Hamilton” is requiring vaccines for actors and stage staff.

Opinion: Vaccinate all health care workers now

  Opinion: Vaccinate all health care workers now A mandate that specifically requires frontline health care workers to be vaccinated against Covid is most just and ethical thing to do for patients, says nurse Theresa Brown, and could be implemented through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.Covid-19 has killed over 600,000 Americans and sickened many more. It's hard for me to understand why people would refuse a vaccine that could save their lives and those of their family. But as a nurse, what I find even harder to understand is why some health care workers choose not to get vaccinated and put patients at risk as a result.

On Monday morning, 57 organizations representing every part of the health care industry – from physicians and nurses to pharmacists and physician assistants, from public health officials to long-term care workers – called for mandatory vaccinations for health care workers. CEOs, corporate leaders and employers in other parts of the economy need to follow suit.

Vaccine approval status is no excuse

Vaccine mandates should begin with health care workers and settings where employees have close contact with others, such as grocery stores, food production facilities and restaurants. Any employer calling workers back to the office, even for three days a week and especially if those offices are open design, should also mandate vaccines to protect workers from COVID-19 exposure and spread.

After the private sector begins to generate momentum for a mandate approach, the public sector can follow by requiring the military, police and other first responders to get a vaccine.

Many companies have used the vaccines’ emergency approval status as justification for not mandating them. This is a poor excuse. These vaccines are among the most effective and safe vaccines ever produced. It is widely expected that in the next month or two, the Food and Drug Administration will grant full approval to the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. After this change in status, there is no realistic excuse left.

Major medical groups call for employers to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for health care workers

  Major medical groups call for employers to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for health care workers As the number of Covid-19 cases surges in the United States, more than 50 health and medical groups -- including the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association -- issued a joint statement calling for all health care and long-term care employers to mandate employees be vaccinated against Covid-19. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images IMMOKALEE, FLORIDA - MAY 20: A healthcare worker prepares Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at a clinic set up by Healthcare Network on May 20, 2021 in Immokalee, Florida.

a close up of a device: COVID-19 vaccines © Thomas Kienzle / AFP via Getty Images COVID-19 vaccines

Companies can take several steps to make mandates work for their employees. They can eliminate the hassle of having to plan around work to get vaccinated by making vaccines available at work sites for employees and their families. Employers should also give paid time off the day after vaccination for potential fever, fatigue and other transitory side effects so employees do not worry about lost wages. Polling shows that 75% of workers whose employers offer PTO for shots are vaccinated compared with 51% at companies that don’t.

Speed it up, FDA: Full approval of COVID vaccines will get shots in arms and save lives

For vaccine-hesitant employees, education campaigns that clarify common misconceptions can reduce safety concerns fueled by misinformation or disinformation. Mandates are the best way to reach people who are apathetic about vaccines, possibly because they don’t view COVID-19 as a real threat, and get them vaccinated. Employer enforcements could be the push these people need to view vaccines as “worth it.”

The federal government can do its part by issuing guidance and expressing support for private sector mandates. The Biden administration has already offered tax credits for small- and medium-size businesses that give employees paid time off to get the vaccine. It could potentially expand these credits to employers that introduce mandates.

The message should be clear: Mandates spearheaded and executed by the private sector are our most crucial tool for thwarting delta surges.

Omicron isn't a surprise to advocates who have fought for global vaccine equity

  Omicron isn't a surprise to advocates who have fought for global vaccine equity People in richer countries, even if fully vaccinated, won't be safe until those in poorer nations have the benefit of vaccines, experts have argued.For a year since COVID-19 vaccines first became available, a small but vocal group has warned about the need to protect the most vulnerable around the world.

Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel (@ZekeEmanuel) is co-director of  the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and author of "Which Country has the World’s Best Health Care?" Matthew Guido and Amaya Diana (@amayahdiana) are research coordinators in Penn's Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Private companies must require vaccines for workers. It's the only way to get past COVID.

Is the best strategy against omicron to keep boosting with the original vaccine? .
Omicron variant: Do current Covid vaccines and boosters protect against the new variant?The variant's mutations suggest it may be able to dodge some of the immunity provided by vaccination or natural infection. While federal health officials and drugmakers await highly anticipated lab results to see how much of a threat omicron poses to vaccines, for now, the existing boosters are the best defense against the new strain and the highly transmissible delta variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, epidemiologists and immunologists say.

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