Hiltzik: COVID vaccination mandates and the quitting myth

It’s no secret that the pandemic has been a rich breeding ground for infectious nonsense of all kinds. Get ready for a whole new genre.

We are talking about reports of massive resignations caused by vaccination warrants. These are starting to spread in the press and social networks.

For the most part, there is less in the reports than it seems at first glance. This is an early sign that they need to be treated with extreme care and skepticism, as are reports of “miracle cures” derived from livestock medicine, bleach, and UV lamps.

While there is this “great movement of resignation” … what we are seeing [is] usually not related to the vaccine.

Alexander Alonso, Society for Human Resources Management

Employers in some industries have worried for months about whether requiring workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will lead to an increase in quits.

That’s why some have avoided imposing vaccine requirements on members of their workforce with the least to lose – low-income frontline workers such as cashiers at Walmart, for example, while keeping them in place for those with their sights set on career goals, including middle managers.

The vaccination mandate proposed last week by the Biden administration for employers with more than 100 workers should alleviate those concerns. Grassroots workers who turn down vaccines assuming they can just move on to less demanding employers will have fewer options.

Workers in healthcare, where vaccine refusal rates were inexplicably high, will also have less choice, especially as the Biden administration mandates vaccines on all employees in healthcare facilities who treat enrolled in. Medicare and Medicaid. This is the vast majority.

That rule alone could make the early summer episode at Houston Methodist Hospital a relic of the past. After the hospital demanded that all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19, more than 150 refused. They were made redundant.

Several had challenged the warrant in a lawsuit, arguing that the vaccines were “unapproved” and that they were being treated as “guinea pigs”.

Federal Judge Lynn N. Hughes made short work of these arguments, ruling in June that the hospital had every right to make employment conditional on vaccination. Resistance workers “will just need to work elsewhere,” he said. “Any job involves limits to the behavior of the worker in exchange for his remuneration. It’s all part of the deal. ”

Of course, now with the Pfizer vaccine having received formal approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the federal government accepting no substitutes for healthcare workers getting vaccinated, the 153 Houston workers who have quit rather than to get vaccinated might have to go scratching for work.

In any case, the hospital specifies that the 153 workers who resigned or made redundancies represented around 0.6% of the nearly 25,000 hospital employees.

Reports from news sources and social media reflect a similar, if not lower, order of magnitude. The most reported case involves the Lewis County General Hospital in upstate New York. There, the resignations of six employees and the possibility of another seven refusing to be vaccinated will force the hospital to temporarily “suspend” maternity services from next week, according to hospital officials.

This will cause inconvenience to the community but probably not a crisis. The hospital delivers about 200 babies per year, well below the state average of over 1,000 or the national average of almost 600. Hospitals with functioning maternity services are at 15 and 30 miles.

Hospital administrators say about 20 of their unvaccinated clinical staff have resigned since New York state imposed a vaccination mandate on healthcare workers, but 73% of the 650 healthcare workers health are vaccinated. That’s a better rate than in the region as a whole: Lewis County’s overall vaccination rate of 40% is among the lowest in the state.

The county also has the highest COVID test positivity rate in the state, officials said. The region has long struggled to find professional staff for its health facilities, possibly due to its remoteness.

The other big thread that circulates on the Internet concerns a Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Douglas Hague, who is believed to be a 19-year veteran stationed at Fort. Bragg, North Carolina

According to a letter purportedly sent to his superiors and tweeted by a woman who says she is his wife, Katie Phipps Hague, the army officer resigns from his commission in protest against “the illegal order, contrary to the ethical, immoral and tyrannical to sit still and allow a serum to be injected into my flesh against my will and better judgment.

The letter continues to complain of an “ideologically Marxist takeover of the United States military and government at their upper echelons.”

A few points about this:

I haven’t been able to confirm that Lt. Col. Hague exists or if the resignation letter is genuine, but it’s the kind of missive that makes you say “Hmmm …”

According to the letter, Hague will resign at least several months before his eligibility for a military pension, which comes with 20 years of service. For a lieutenant colonel, whose rank is $ 114,670, a 20-year pension would be worth about $ 57,335, or $ 4,778 per month. This makes its position expensive to take, especially given its basic illogicality.

He fails to mention, for example, that even before the COVID pandemic, active duty military personnel had to be vaccinated against 17 diseases. Of these, the most common are measles, mumps, rubella, polio, influenza, smallpox, and tetanus.

Why a military officer would decide to face a stance on the COVID vaccine at this time is unclear, unless he was infected with the absurd and partisan campaign that made refusal of the shot a litmus test for the credibility of the right.

Nonetheless, you can expect to see this missive and perhaps a few others spinning on social media in the coming weeks to promote disobedience to vaccination mandates.

Another category of reporting may be the treatment of a small number of refusniks as the vanguard of some sort of mass movement.

After Baltimore told all city workers to get vaccinated by October 18 or undergo weekly testing for COVID-19, an order that covered nearly 14,000 people, local news crews beat the bushes to find objectors. CBS found one … one, a healthcare worker who said she was quitting but refused to even be mentioned by name.

More accountable and credible reports indicate that immunization mandates are doing their job, which is to force hold-backs to reconsider.

Delta Air Lines says its threat to start charging latecomers more for their health coverage has prompted 20% of their unvaccinated workers to get vaccinated. At United Airlines, which mandates vaccination on all employees and gives its employees five weeks to comply, half of unvaccinated employees had been vaccinated within three weeks.

Vaccine campaigners can bark more than bite. San Diego Police Officers Assn. said last week that 65% of its members responding to a recent poll said they would consider quitting if the city enforces a vaccination mandate due on November 2.

But only 38% of the more than 1,900 union members responded, making it unclear whether the responses overrepresented vaccine laggers or if those who claimed they might quit would actually follow. Jobs with public law enforcement agencies that are unwilling to enforce immunizations can become increasingly difficult to find.

Human resources professionals say objections to vaccination are gradually disappearing.

At a recent briefing, the Society for Human Resource Management said its polls showed that although 28% of workers said in December that they would rather quit their jobs than get vaccinated, now “what we are seeing is that this number is roughly less than two percent, ”Alexander Alonso, the company’s knowledge manager, said at the briefing. “So as long as there is this ‘great resignation movement’ … what we are seeing [is] usually not related to the vaccine.

Vaccination warrants are widely popular in the United States and have spread rapidly since the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine. The bet here is that they will continue to spread and become a routine as public employers, colleges and universities, large employers and retailers and entertainment venues put them in place.

There will be occasional inconvenience caused by resignations, such as at Lewis County General Hospital. But they are likely to ebb as the refusal of the vaccine is recognized as a marginal feeling, which it is. The lesson in this case, as has been the case with the wild claims about COVID cures, is to listen not to madness, but to reason.

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