Should vaccines be mandatory? | The Highland Current
Lawsuits begin as early workers lose jobs
Under federal guidelines released last month, employers can legally require employees entering work to be vaccinated against COVID-19, except those with health concerns or religious objections.
But another question looms, especially as the government prepares to fully approve two of the three vaccines currently available on an emergency basis: Companies may be free to impose vaccinations on their workers, but should they do so?
Walter Olson believes so, despite being a member of the libertarian-minded Cato Institute, which advocates for individual rights, free markets, and limited government. Olson, at a forum Monday, June 8, hosted by The Hastings Center, a Garrison-based bioethics think tank, said his default position was “very skeptical and dubious” of vaccination mandates, but “is part of of the freedom we must expect is the freedom of civil society to protect itself.
“This means that thousands of businesses – cruise ships, hair salons and dance studios – have to make their own decisions about whether to demand immunization information from their customers or staff.” , did he declare.
According to a survey conducted by the US Census Bureau between May 24 and May 30, only about 4% of non-farm businesses with fewer than 500 employees said they require proof of vaccination from employees before allowing them to come to work. highest in New York State, at 6.2 percent.
Nationally, businesses providing education, accommodation and food services, as well as health care and social assistance have led the way in requiring injections.
NewYork-Presbyterian, whose system includes the Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt Manor and a medical group in Cold Spring, informed staff on Friday June 11 that they will need to be vaccinated with at least their initial vaccine by September 1 to stay employed. The mandate also applies to volunteers and salespeople, and will be required of new recruits.
Employees who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons, or because they are pregnant, have until Aug. 1 to apply for an exemption, the hospital system said in a memo jointly signed by Steven Corwin, president. Managing Director, and Laura Forese, Executive. vice-president and chief operating officer. They called the vaccine “the most important and responsible action we can take as members of the NYP team for the safety and well-being of our patients and visitors, our communities and ourselves “.
Two days earlier, the Maryland Hospital Association announced that its members, which include Johns Hopkins Hospital (31,000 employees) and University of Maryland Medical Center (29,000), will require staff and contract workers get vaccinated as a condition of employment. About 70 percent of Maryland hospital workers are fully immunized, the MHA said.
“It’s a long tradition that employers or businesses can set conditions on a return to work or for their clients: no mask, no shirt, no shoes, no service,” said Lawrence Gostin, who heads the O’Neill Institute for National. and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and is a member of the Hastings Center.
In New York State, colleges have been at the forefront. Students returning to face-to-face classes on the SUNY and CUNY campuses in the fall will be required to show proof of vaccination, with medical or religious exemptions.
Poughkeepsie’s Marist and Vassar Colleges are among private schools that have announced similar policies, and Marist’s tenure will extend to faculty and staff. Its president, Dennis Murray, said on May 21 that the school expects to be fully operational, with in-class classes, in-person meals, and athletic and student activities; he sees “generalized vaccination” as the key.
Accompanying the first warrants are the first lawsuits challenging their legality.
The Houston Methodist Hospital, which has 26,000 employees, is being sued by 117 staff members threatened with dismissal for refusing to be vaccinated. Employees say the hospital’s policy violates the Nuremberg Code, which was created after World War II in response to Nazi human experimentation.
In Durham, North Carolina, a former deputy is suing the sheriff, alleging he was fired after refusing the vaccination. Another lawsuit was filed by an employee of a detention center in New Mexico. Both claim the warrant is illegal because the vaccines have only been authorized by the federal government for emergency use.
Olson said he was alarmed that lawmakers in some states say they will prevent businesses, nonprofits, schools and local authorities from requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of entry or to receive services . Such laws could prevent cruise lines from offering vaccinated-only trips, for example.
“That means for these small businesses, Florida and probably other states are going to say to them, ‘We don’t trust you to make the right decision. The government will make this decision for you, ”he said.