can my company require employees to get the Covid vaccine?

A reader writes:

My employer just issued a company-wide Covid vaccination mandate requiring all employees to get the vaccine. Is this legal?

I work in an office setting. Some positions do field work, but this is not a public-facing environment. My job can be done entirely remotely and this has been proven, but my company still is resistant to telecommuting. I’m not saying I am anti-vaccine, but I think people should be free to make their own decisions when it comes to their bodies and health so this feels like a serious overstep.

Employers can legally require vaccines — of all kinds, not just Covid vaccines — as long as the requirement is job-related and “consistent with business necessity.”

“Business necessity” can mean that unvaccinated employees would pose a direct threat to other employees, customers, or the general public. In the context of Covid, it would hard to argue that applies to someone who’s fully remote, but probably not terribly hard to make that argument for people who work around others.

As with most things, in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Civil Rights Act, employers have to make exceptions for disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs. In that case, though, the employer could require other precautions instead (like wearing a mask and distancing, working from home, or working separately from others).

Also, some states have introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from requiring vaccines (mostly, but not entirely, in response to flu shot requirements), but none of those bills have passed into law yet.

(For the sake of thoroughness: I’ve seen a few people arguing that the Covid vaccine can’t be mandated while it’s still under “emergency use authorization” [EUA] because the federal statute governing EUAs says people must be informed that they have the option to accept or refuse a vaccine. But the majority of legal opinions I’ve read disagree with that and instead treat the Covid vaccine like any other. Some have noted that the statute’s language means the government can’t force the public to receive a vaccine, not that private employers can’t  make vaccination a condition of employment.)

Anyway, right now, you mainly see vaccination mandates in fields like health care (where flu shots, for example, have long been commonly required). But given the havoc Covid has wreaked and is continuing to wreak, we’re likely to see employers in other fields decide they have a business interest in requiring or strongly encouraging it.

{ 622 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Hi. The comments on this, as you might imagine, are messier than I’d normally like them to be here. I’ve unexpectedly got my hands full with other stuff today so I’m not able to do close moderation on this; I am removing problematic things I see or that are flagged for me but I may not get everything. Proceed at your own risk.

  2. Vaccinated*

    My employer sent a survey asking a few different vaccine related questions, one being if we thought they should mandate that employees get it when able to. For what it’s worth, I voted that it should be mandatory. Some decisions should be left up to the individual, but I don’t think public safety should be impaired because of it. (Of note, we are a hospital and flu shots are already required.)

    1. Cat Tree*

      Yeah, even the best vaccines aren’t 100% effective. Many people have been too flippant about Covid already, to the tune of half a million dead people and shaving a year off life expectancy. Some people won’t get the vaccine unless required to because they don’t think Covid is serious. I shouldn’t be put at risk in my workplace because of they.

      People have a really hard time weighing personal choices when it has the potential to affect many others. If Covid infected only people who make many careless choices, it would be a different story. But those people can then pass it on to others who have no choice but to be exposed and that’s where it stops being about personal freedoms. My mom thinks she’s safe because she’s not doing really “bad” things on a regular basis. She tells me to stop worrying because she’ll be fine, but nowhere does the CDC say that good intentions can protect you when you’re a little lax about all the other guidance. It’s just so hard for many people to really comprehend how a pandemic affects society.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, the problem here is that we can’t just say “free will, your choice” like it’s a flu shot. Literally everyone now has to depend on everyone else not catching it, which means that we need to impede on people’s free will and choice because of all the people who aren’t choosing to risk illness, and the whole herd immunity/vaccine thing.

        My work has so far stated that they can’t require everyone to get it because of the EUA status, but I would imagine that would change if that status does. They required everyone to get the flu shot this year and we had some drama with at least one person who wanted to refuse because “why should I have to?” and that didn’t count as a legal excuse not to. That one just got resolved with “okay, fine, so you can’t come into the office,” which she wasn’t doing anyway.

        I don’t know if that’s going to remain viable in the future with this, though. Our second in command wants to refuse to get the vaccine, so…that’s really not good, but obviously nobody can say anything there.

        1. Ori*

          Honestly, I think flu shots should be mandatory too (excepting when contraindicated, of course). So many people die every year because of the flu — obviously it’s not as deadly as COVID, but it still irks me to see people be glib about not getting it because they “never get sick”.

          1. Third or Nothing!*

            I used to be one of those people. I never wanted to get it because I have an egg allergy and the egg free versions never seem to be available near me. And I seem to have a very strong immune system so I very rarely get sick from a communicable disease. But after getting the second dose of the COVID vaccine and feeling just a taste of what the flu feels like, and after living an entire year actively trying not to die (high risk due to asthma) with all the mental health problems that come with being in a constant state of crisis management for that long, I will absolutely get the flu shot every year from now on and hang the GI issues I’ll get afterwards.

            1. Not your doctor*

              FYI, as of the 2017-18 flu season, the CDC no longer considers egg allergy to be an absolute contraindication to flu vaccines produced in eggs, even in patients who have severe egg allergies. (If your allergy is severe, they do recommend that you get your vaccine in a setting where they can monitor you afterwards, and can manage any allergic reaction that arises.) So discuss this with your doctor!


              (Obligatory note: I am trained as a physician. I am not in practice, and I am most certainly not your physician. This is not medical advice. This is information that you can take to your own practitioner to obtain medical advice.)

              1. Guest*

                I’m a retail pharmacist who’s given thousands of shots this year alone. Just as an FYI, new as of this past year one of the standard (2020-2021) flu shots (flucelvax) contained no egg. Makes it much more accessible than having to find the standard egg free flublok. Hopefully that will be the case this year as well

              2. Third or Nothing!*

                Woo hoo!!! I’ll have to talk to my allergy/asthma doctor at my next checkup. I guess at this point in the season it’s moot, but it’ll be good info to have for next season.

            1. TrainerGirl*

              I got H1N1 during the winter of 2009. I got flu shots prior to that year, but after dealing with that, I get one every year now.

            2. Artemesia*

              I was in a flu experiment with my son 25 years ago — they were testing the nasal spray version versus shots — and have just gotten the shot ever since — my employer provided it at work. Never had the flu in my life but my grandmother died at 25 in the 1919 second wave of the epidemic and so not getting it has always seemed a good idea.

              My granddaughter, 11, will be spending the night with us tomorrow — used to do it every week and haven’t for this year. Now that we are vaccinated that little bit of what life is all about will be back again.

          2. Susana*

            I only recently started getting flu shots. Not opposed to them, just didn’t get around to it and I actually never did get the flu. I get them now because partner’s grandchild was born and I wanted to be very careful. Now I get them yearly.

            But the difference with COVID is the community spread and deadliness, which is far worse than the flu. I absolutely think employers should be able to ban people from the office who haven’t been vaccinated (can’t wait to get mine!)

          3. Jam Today*

            Flu shots are mandatory in some industries, so COVID doesn’t seem like anything new or different, and certainly no more onerous.

            1. Canadian girl*

              I’m not opposed to the vaccines but I’m not strictly for them right bow either. I want to see more long term testing and more results on whether they’re effective at actually preventing someone from passing it along or not. If my work made it mandatory I would have to weigh the pros and cons for myself and my family but I won’t be voluntarily getting it for awhile. There’s too many unknown variables for me at this point luckily there are a number of people in the higher end of our organization that agree with me. For now we’ll keep doing all the preventions we can and encouraging all the staff to continue with them as well. It’ll be a few months before I’m even eligible anyway.

              1. Sigh.*

                There have been tons of studies. People got the vaccine a year ago in trials. Any major side effects would have shown up by now.

                There is no reason not to get a vaccine except for pure selfishness.

                1. OP*

                  Hi, OP here. One factor to weigh in getting the vaccine is how prone to allergic reactions you are as all three US approved vaccines have shown a very small percentage of people have a severe allergic reaction.

              2. Wombats and Tequila*

                It is not known to what degree the vaccine prevents transmission, but it is believed that it is “highly effective” in preventing you from getting COVID.

                What the studies have proven fairly unequivocally is that they are as close to 100% effective as possible in preventing severe disease, long haul effects, hospitalization, and death.

                Let’s talk about long haul disease and long term effects. Getting COVID, even if you recover, is like playing a game of Russian roulette. My brother got COVID last March. He recovered and everything seemed fine. In October, died of a sudden heart stoppage. He was healthy and active and should have had at least a couple more decades. COVID does affect blood clotting. Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, who was 41, had no underlying conditions, and was a COVID patient,, developed a blood clot and died on the operating table on 12/30 of last year. My son-in-law is a doctor at a local hospital and had two patients who had recovered from COVID come into the ER where he works with breathing difficulties. They were 21 and 34, also with no underlying health conditions, previously physically fit. One of them had two collapsed lungs. Both were discovered to have an absolutely horrifying degree of scarring in their lungs. Neither will live a normal life without a lung transplant.

                This pandemic has only been around for a little over a year. No one knows what effects may show up years down the road, but I would be pleasantly surprised if there weren’t any, because this is true of many viruses. Shingles, a complication of chicken pox whose pain has been likened to a third degree burn, can show up in a one’s 60s. There’s post-polio syndrome. Thirteen years after my grandfather survived the 1919 Spanish flu pandemic, he developed encephalitis as a complication, leaving him disabled and throwing his family into poverty during the Depression.

                What effect lurks in waiting for COVID survivors down the road? No one knows. It hasn’t been long enough. My point is, I really advise you not to spin that cylinder and put the gun to your head. Once you get a chance to get that vaccine, just get it.

                The business I run provides music for all kinds of different occasions. Since the start of 2021, about half of these occasions have been funerals. We have seen enough tears to fill an ocean. Pre COVID, I would estimate funerals to have comprised about 1 out of 20 events.

                One lady hired us to play for her husband, who was on a ventilator on Valentine’s Day. We stood in the parking lot and FaceTimed the performance to his room. Two weeks later, he finally lost his 2 months struggle. He was 50. The family lost its principal breadwinner and have 2 months of ICU bills to show for it.

                My point is, I’m guessing that at least someone depends on you, if not financially, then at least emotionally. If not, if you’re truly all alone in this world, your coworkers are probably not. They have parents, grandparents, newborns, immunocompromised people in their lives. You are part of a system. We all are. All of us should do our part. If you have the good fortune of an opportunity to be vaccinated, then you owe to the community you live in, the kids who missed over a year of school, friends, and activities, the people who have list their jobs, the people who have lost their homes, the seniors who are afraid to open their doors, to do your part to end this horror.

                1. The Cheese Woman*

                  I’m so sorry for your loss, but I just wanted to say this is a fantastic comment that should be read far and wide.

                2. OP*

                  Hi, question asker here. Thank you for sharing your story and experience. I am really sorry to hear about your brother. I am sorry to hear about the uptick in funeral – gigs, for lack of a better word – as well. I think music can be very healing to those battling health issues and going through difficult times so thank you for the work that you do.

                  Please bear with you on this next part as I am not a medical expert and do not have the time to ensure the wording on this is precisely correct. I’m doing my best here, take it with a grain of salt and do your own research. I have heard that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not shown to be effective against getting the infection and the mild cases, of which can result in serious long term debilitating effects, whereas the mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech) are showing efficacy against both of these. Can anyone confirm this or provide greater insight?

                  I also have noticed that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has only been approved in the U.S. and South Africa. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna by comparison have been approved throughout Europe (Moderna throughout most but not all of Europe) and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved in other countries additionally. I am wondering if anyone knows why the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is lagging in approvals – is it just because the trials happened later or are we seeing certain countries opt out of the J&J?

              3. Freeatlast*

                Pfizer’s CEO announced today that on the ground testing in Israel, where 50% of the population is already vaccinated showed that the vaccine is 97% effective against serious illness or death and 94% effective against symptomatic illness. You can’t get better results than that. And whether you want to roll he dice and see if you’re safe without it, your failure to get the vaccine reduces our chances of herd immunity AND encourages the growth of variants.
                I would also point out studies of Covid long haulers show that many of them WERE asymptomatic or had very light symptoms when they had COVID. They are now suffering from long term damage to multiple organs. So you risk becoming a long hauler, in hoping if you get it, you’ll only have a light case or be asymptomatic.

              4. Retired Prof*

                Evidence from Israel shows about 90% reduction in transmission from Pfizer vaccine, with similar results from other vaccines in the UK. The risk of serious reaction is very low. Really there’s just no good argument for delaying vaccination.

          4. vampire physicist*

            I’ve been in healthcare my entire career and it always has been required – or, if you didn’t or couldn’t get it, you had the option to wear a mask all flu season. I agree – I think putting this policy in place for the COVID vaccine on a large scale would be great, honestly

      2. Greg*

        But…they do seem to be 100% effective at eliminating hospitalizations and death. You may still get COVID but if you have the vaccine COVID essentially turns into a cold or the flu. This point is terribly communicated – we will always have COVID flying around due to mutations but if we can reduce the severity of the case and eliminate deaths then it has worked! And worked really well!

    2. Cassidy*

      >For what it’s worth, I voted that it should be mandatory. Some decisions should be left up to the individual, but I don’t think public safety should be impaired because of it.

      So well stated and spot on, Vaccinated. Thank you.

    3. Quill*

      The ONLY caveat I have here is that decisions on exceptions to vaccinations, and if they’re acceptable, need to be made by doctors evaluating risks, not someone who suddenly says “as a CHRISTIAN i will not vaccinate because aunt suzy’s pastor posted on facebook that vaccines are unnatural.”

      But if you’re a hospital you conveniently have doctors and medical professionals around, so it’s likely that you already understand the nuances.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, this. If for say, severe allergy issues, you can’t, there should be a medical exemption. But CHRISTIAN should not be one. Religious exemptions really can’t continue to be a thing with something this severe.

        1. RabbitRabbit*

          I assume that once vaccine availability is more widespread, medical exemption will be less of an issue as well. The J&J vaccine is built around inactivated adenoviruses, while Pfizer and Moderna use lipid shells around the mRNA vaccine. It’s highly unlikely you’d be allergic or have other medical contraindications to both styles.

          1. Yellow Rose*

            My husband has had Gillian-Barre Syndrome and has been advised to forgo **any** vaccine, including this one. Since the manufacturers have been granted a waiver for any adverse outcomes on this not fully tested vac, will the employer accept lability? If not, do not make it mandatory.

            1. Jerusha*

              And that is an excellent reason for a medical exemption! (And, also, an example of someone who is really relying on everyone who can get immunized doing so, because their best protection against COVID will be being surrounded by people who are immune, who can’t* catch COVID and infect them.)

              *So far the studies have shown that the vaccines definitely reduce risk of severe illness and hospitalization. They are collecting data on at least some of the vaccines to try and figure out whether it also protects against milder illness, and (if it doesn’t prevent infection entirely) whether it reduces or eliminates the chance of the immunized person spreading the virus. Based on our experience with other vaccines against viruses, the most likely answers are “Vastly reduces your chances of developing an infection; if you do develop an infection (i.e. virus reproducing in you), almost entirely eliminates both the risk of illness and the risk of passing the disease along.” But we don’t know that for sure, and won’t for a while yet, until we get further trial data collected and analyzed.

            2. SD*

              Your husband’s doctor has advised him against any vaccines and that is a medically valid reason not to vaccinate. It is for him and the rest of the rest of the “medically can’t” folks that the rest of us must. “Religious reasons” are nonsense. You can believe what you want, but don’t expect to be able to associate with with those outside of your religious bubble.

              1. allathian*

                Yeah. Medical contraindications are the only reasons I’ll happily accept. Everything else is just nope. I certainly don’t mourn if anti-vaxxers catch it and die, and I think all vaccines should be made mandatory, except where there are medical contraindications, for access to public schooling and extracurriculars, for example. The anti-vaxxer nonsense has to stop.

            3. Tink*

              Interesting. My father and one first cousin had Gillian-Barre Syndrome and several related diseases like Graves Disease (Hyperthyroidism) and Vitiligo run rampant through my family (I have 2 autoimmune conditions) so I checked with my Endocrinologist and was told no problem with the vaccines using the mRNA platform. (Pfizer and Moderna) Also searched medical literature and did not find any contradictions. You may want to research further.

              1. RabbitRabbit*

                This exactly. In addition, influenza and other viral illnesses can trigger Gillian-Barre. I suspect it may vary depending on the person.

              2. Anne Elliot*

                Also chiming in to say that while anecdote /= data, my brother has a history of GBD and was vaccinated with no issues.

        2. Ashley*

          In the US it is such a mixed bag because we want to protect our freedoms. The definition of ‘sincerely held’ religious belief is also pretty broad and legally I don’t think you have to prove it. That said once I am vaccinated and out and about I will not be around people who I know aren’t because the vaccine is designed to keep me from dying from Covid or need to be hospitalized not necessarily not getting it.

          1. Quill*

            Yeah. I was in the first year eligible in my area for chicken pox vaccine. It didn’t mean that I didn’t get it (I did, eventually) but I got a mild case of it and have no scars, unlike many of my unvaccinated peers. My younger brother’s graduating class almost universally did not get it – when it had gone around my age group, THEY had been vaccinated effectively (with earlier / more accurate doses than I had) and it had nowhere to go.

        3. Lacey*

          I think religious exemptions can and should continue, but you’re mostly looking at specific bits of the Amish population for that. Maybe Jehovah’s Witnesses? There’s nothing in the Christian tradition that forbids vaccines or even comes close. There’s definitely a loud anti-vax movement within some Christian circles, but even there, the concern is based on bad science and yellow journalism, no one’s connecting it with our religious beliefs.

          I’m super pro vaccine, but I also think people are really quick to want to curtail religious liberty, especially if it’s super inconvenient and the deeply held religious beliefs are not our own. But, I think that’s kind of why there are those protections. Because liberty often is not convenient.

          1. Imtheone*

            Some Catholic leaders oppose the COVID vaccines because of the use of fetal tissue in early development of some vaccines. The Pope says the vaccines are fine.

          2. Quill*

            The main problem here is when other people’s religious liberty is infringing on other people’s safety in society, OR when a religous choice puts someone who can’t advocate for themselves (say, a minor) at serious provable medical risk. Both of which occur in cases of religious antivaxxing.

            There’s also not a threshold of proof for a “deeply held” religious belief – we’ve seen people make that argument for a lot of spurious reasons and win, legally speaking, even if their end goal was descriminatory or if it denied equal employment benefits to specific groups of people. So I’m sure there will be plenty of antivaxxers popping out of the woodwork claiming religious exemption, regardless of their actual beliefs, and regardless of why they remain opposed to vaccination.

            Overall, laws need to get a heck of a lot more clear not about what can be a religious belief (literally anything can) but about when you excercising that belief is appropriate and when it’s accidentally infringing on the rights of others, and what reasonable accomodations for everyone to participate in society are.

            1. allathian*

              Yeah, this. I’m not in the US, granted. Religious freedom exists here as well, but the accommodations that can be demanded because of it are fewer. If your employer says you have to get a vaccine to work, then no religious belief will get you out of it, you just can’t work for that employer. It’s not considered religious discrimination if someone’s religious conviction prevents them from complying with a condition of employment and they’re fired for non-compliance.

              In the matter of minors, children of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have become sick with a disease that would kill them unless they get a blood transfusion, like leukemia, have been taken into care to ensure they get the medical treatment they need. Sometimes this has resulted in the parents giving up their kid for adoption because with the transfusion, the kid’s tainted and unfit to be a JW. Again, I’m in a location where medical expenses are far lower than in the US for the individual, thanks to single-payer insurance.

          3. A*

            “I also think people are really quick to want to curtail religious liberty, especially if it’s super inconvenient and the deeply held religious beliefs are not our own”

            Agreed in general, but this is not a matter of inconvenience – it’s literally life or death. And while I agree that freedom of religion is important, I do not agree that it should trump a matter of public health.

          4. Emma*

            The problem with religious exemptions is that while you can look as an outside observer and say “well, these smaller religions ban vaccination, but the big ones don’t”… if someone comes along and says that Christianity *as they understand it* forbids vaccination, there is really nobody who has the authority to tell them they’re wrong.

            1. Wintermute*

              Well with catholic leaders, the fact the Pope said it was fine if there was no reasonable alternative means there is an authority telling them they are wrong. I know this pope has been hesitant to draw lines in the sand and force errant leaders to kiss the ring, and that is certainly part of his wide appeal, but if there was **EVER** a time, I think he ought to.

              1. JessaB*

                I think the Pope made a big to do about getting his shot. Which at least to Catholics is prima facie evidence that it’s okay to be vaccinated.

          5. EchoGirl*

            I think the issue is that once you allow religious exceptions for anyone, you have to allow religious exceptions for anyone who asks for them, because otherwise you have the government nitpicking people’s individual religious beliefs and deciding which ones do and don’t count, and that’s potentially an even bigger mess.

          6. JM60*

            Hard disagree. There are many things that don’t fall under religious rights because they infringe the rights of others. Generally, doing something that would endanger the lives of others without their consent (such as spreading COVID during a pandemic) doesn’t – and shouldn’t – count as a religious right.

          7. KoiFeeder*

            There’s nothing in Christian tradition about autism either, but some people sincerely believe that their God does not consider me human in the first place. If someone holds the deeply seated religious belief that there is functionally no difference between accidentally hitting me with their car and accidentally hitting an animal with their car, are they exempt from committing murder?

            Does that answer change because they accidentally gave me a fatal disease rather than personally killing me?

        4. Third or Nothing!*

          Last I heard, the Pope said Catholics should not get the J&J vaccine but has said nothing at all against Pfizer and Moderna. So from what I can tell, the variety of available COVID vaccines should cover a wide range of religious needs that don’t include rejection of all vaccines whatsoever. And hopefully that means that most people will feel comfortable getting at least one of the options!

          I do appreciate that there are several different kinds of COVID vaccines that are all about the same level of effectiveness. I’ve got some food and medicine allergies, so I love to see lots of alternatives for stuff we put into our bodies.

          1. Evan Þ.*

            I don’t know about the Pope, but the archbishops I’ve heard about have said Catholics shouldn’t choose the J&J vaccine if they can choose another vaccine, but if they don’t have another choice it’s still fine to get it. The reason is that J&J uses fetal cells (derived from aborted babies) to grow the adenoviruses used in the vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna don’t use any cells to produce mRNA, so there aren’t any of those problems there.

            Meanwhile, the also-very-pro-life Southern Baptist Convention says there isn’t any problem taking the vaccines, because doing that doesn’t get you anywhere close to abortion itself.

            1. Rachel*

              Just to clarify from someone who has worked extensively with these cells: the J&J vaccine, and almost all modern medical research, use a cell line called HEK cells (human embryonic kidney cells). The original cells are from a single fetus in the 70’s that will divide and create new cells indefinitely.

              The fact that they exist at all is miraculous (they are often called “immortal”), and they have made many biological discoveries possible because of how easy they are to work with. And seriously – if you have a problem with them you should probably avoid all modern medicine and science.

              1. Rachel*

                Also much of the work around understanding what mRNA is and how it works used HEK cells too, so really it’s just how far back you want to go from vaccine creation to the discoveries that made the vaccines possible.

                1. Silly Season is just Beginning*

                  Thanks for this clarification, Rachel. I have at least one coworker who goes on about how she isn’t taking the vaccine for ethical reasons because of the use of aborted fetuses but what she is saying isn’t very accurate.
                  The other thing to consider (not in regard to the use of HEK cells, but generally), is that some people just like to be contrary.

          2. anonarama*

            That is incorrect. Some random US bishops in Texas and New Orleans have said Catholics shouldn’t get the J&J vaccine. The pope has said no such thing.

            1. Kt*

              And in particular Catholicism has an important set of doctrines around how to prioritize values. From “MORAL REFLECTIONS ON VACCINES PREPARED FROM CELLS DERIVED FROM ABORTED HUMAN FOETUSES” in 2005, addressing in particular the vaccinations for rubella:

              “As regards the diseases against which there are no alternative vaccines which are available and ethically acceptable, it is right to abstain from using these vaccines if it can be done without causing children, and indirectly the population as a whole, to undergo significant risks to their health. However, if the latter are exposed to considerable dangers to their health, vaccines with moral problems pertaining to them may also be used on a temporary basis. The moral reason is that the duty to avoid passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is grave inconvenience. Moreover, we find, in such a case, a proportional reason, in order to accept the use of these vaccines in the presence of the danger of favouring the spread of the pathological agent, due to the lack of vaccination of children. This is particularly true in the case of vaccination against German measles.”

              1. Kt*

                So to spell it out for people, Catholic doctrine and a committee of experts detailed below have concurred for over a decade that while use of vaccines created with the use of fetal tissue is wrong, it is *more* wrong to consciously choose a course of action that may result in death for your compatriots at this time.

                We can’t be perfect in this life and using the vaccine is a lesser evil compared to killing your friends and neighbors.

                To quote from the letter by Sgreccia:
                “This Pontifical Academy for Life, carrying out the commission entrusted to us by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in answer to your request, has proceeded to a careful examination of the question of these “tainted” vaccines, and has produced as a result a study (in Italian) that has been realized with the help of a group of experts. This study has been approved as such by the Congregation and we send you, there enclosed, an English translation of a synthesis of this study. This synthesis can be brought to the knowledge of the interested officials and organisms.

                A documented paper on the topic will be published in the journal “Medicina e Morale”, edited by the Centra di Bioetica della Universita Cattolica in Rome.”

          3. Æthelflæd*

            The last instructions I saw (not Catholic, so I very well could have missed something) were that if they had a choice, to choose one over the J&J vax – but, if they weren’t given a choice on which vax to get, then they should take whatever is offered because of how important the vax is to receive.

            Which, in my mind, was really just a statement meant to appease those who were angry about the aborted fetal tissue used in the development of the J&J vax while still encouraging people to get the vax because very few people in the world get to choose from a menu of which vax they want.

          4. Third or Nothing!*

            Wow, all the responses are fascinating. I’m not Catholic myself but I know people who are and get my info from them. I’ll have to pass on what y’all have said here.

            Re: random Texas bishops – Yeah that could be the source of why the people I know say no J&J vaccine. We all live in Texas.

          5. Greg*

            The Pope actually explicitly said to receive the J+J shot if the other ones weren’t available to you. It the US Catholic Bishops that are making the J+J proclamation in direct opposition to Pope Francis.

        5. Susana*

          What if someone says, my religion prevents me from being around selfish people who think it’s OK to kill others by not being vaccinated?

        6. The Meiji Restauration*

          I am very pro-vaccine, but Quill is attributing to Christians (not sure what you all think if to be gained by writing it in ALL CAPS) what was more common among “granola” leftish types — that vaccines are “unnatural” and “cause autism.” That is Jenny McCarthy much more than Jerry Falwell.

          1. JustaTech*

            That used to be true but these days “health freedom” is at least as common among the right as the left (Respectful Insolence and Science Based Medicine have covered this).
            It comes from different philosophies, but ends up at the same “no vaccines” place.

        7. Artemesia*

          Jesus Christ had nothing to say about vaccinations; there is zero religious region not to vaccinate. (at least in Judaism, Christianity, Islam — don’t know about others)

        8. Self Employed*

          Some states have banned religious exemptions–and none of the major faiths ban vaccination. (Which doesn’t stop the rumor mill, unfortunately.) There are some “faith healing” type of groups that don’t allow vaccination but very few people belong to them.

          California basically threw out exemptions except for medical reasons after some measles and rubella outbreaks. Then they started policing medical exemptions because a few anti-vaxx doctors were basically selling letters of medical exemption over the internet. When the state started getting hundreds of exemptions signed by the same practice, often for children who lived hundreds of miles away, that raised a red flag.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        This is literally why as many people as possible need to get the shot: To protect the very few who can’t.

        Nobody is in favor of mandating that people who have histories of vaccine reactions or other complications get the shot–it’s a given that “mandatory” is limited to people who are physically able to receive it.

      3. Who Am I*

        One would think that. Unfortunately there’s a not insignificant percentage of healthcare workers who refuse to get the vaccine, or even take covid seriously. (One, an acquaintance of mine who is also a Facebook friend, is very high risk, her wife is very high risk, and they raise their granddaughter. I finally had to block her because I would get so angry reading her posts poo-pooing covid. And she’s a nurse! I don’t know what she thinks about the vaccine because I don’t see her posts anymore.)

        1. A*

          Same. The only individuals in my social circle that are anti-vax (in general or specific to the COVID vax)… are all nurses. And they aren’t even mutual friends with each other…. it’s mind blowing and incredibly disappointing!

          1. Quill*

            Nursing, like teaching, does have a significant draw for (mostly women) who want to be seen as an authority in a way they might not if they worked more with peers than with children or patients. So while there are obviously many wonderful nurses and teachers, I’m also not surprised that there’s a vocal contingent of people in nursing who think that They are Always Right and also that they’re “good” people who do / believe / eat the “right” things, so bad things will not happen to them.

            1. Ash*

              I don’t think it’s due to wanting authority. I think it’s a combination of factors: seeing adverse effects in patients through their jobs, being disrespected by the medical establishment (especially doctors), and being a heavily POC workforce that is more susceptible to medical mistrust.

          2. doreen*

            I don’t know any nurses who are anti-vax ( either generally or specifically COVID ) – but what I find absolutely amazing is the people I know who feel like being a medical assistant or a receptionist in a doctor’s office makes them an expert and who therefore passed up their chance to get the Moderna/Pfizer vaccine at work weeks ago because they’re waiting for the J&J. They can do whatever they decide and their employer allows- but I’m not taking medical advice from my HS dropout SIL just because she answers the phone at a doctor’s office.

            1. nonegiven*

              My cousin is an RN that is a pretty rabid anti-vax. I think she blames a health condition she developed on a vaccine she had shortly before it showed up.

        2. Carol*

          A hospital employee I know got to sign up for a vaccine during the first round because some patient-facing staff weren’t taking the spots…it’s appalling if you think about it too hard. (Employee did not feel bad taking a spot–has a high risk condition and was still required to work on site without being provided N95s.)

          1. EJC*

            Yup that was me too. I’m an administrator and so many front line staff refused it that I was able to get it back in January.

            1. AntsOnMyTable*

              I know at the beginning I was leery (I still got it) because, frankly, Trump’s presidency had eroded a lot of my faith in our government institutions that were suppose to be non-partisan. Plus, a lot of frontline staff have seen how easily governments have been willing to put them in very unsafe situations so I think there was a bit of a “are we being the guinea pigs” feelings for some people. As a couple months have gone by a lot more people have felt comfortable with the vaccine.

        3. Self Employed*

          I’ve heard that about half the sheriff/jail employees here won’t get vaccinated even though they’ve been spreading coronavirus in and out of the jail and courts and they got early access.

        4. Anon for this*

          The woman I order Mary Kay from is a hospital nurse. At the height of Covid in my region she was posting on Facebook that she was inviting her customers to her house for one of her Mary Kay parties and that if people didn’t want to wear masks that was perfectly okay.

          I stopped ordering from her after that.

    4. PolarVortex*

      Agreed, I think a lot of people at my company won’t get it. Not because they don’t believe in vaccines, just they’re not in the risk group being 20s/30s. They’re already taking lots of risks in their day to day lives during lockdown. Unfortunately it puts my immunocompromised coworkers at a lot of risk.

      1. C Average*

        If they’re not opposed to vaccines, why wouldn’t they get it, assuming it becomes freely available? Expense? Hassle? Fear of needles?

        My partner is a doctor and he’s been having conversations with his patients about the vaccine. Most of them are eager to get it when it’s their turn, a few are explicitly reluctant, and then a few are just like, “meh, I don’t think I’m gonna.”

        He theorizes that they’re probably the same folks who haven’t gotten flu shots in the past because they “never get sick,” they “don’t like needles,” or they just generally avoid what they see as unnecessary medical visits.

        The thing is, Covid is A LOT more contagious than the flu! To put it in perspective, the flu is way, way down this year due to the lockdown, while Covid has run wild. And that’s not even the newer, more communicable variants that are picking up steam.

        I’m getting that shot the minute I’m eligible, and it’s hard for me to comprehend anyone feeling otherwise.

        1. Quill*

          Got stabbed this morning~! second dose!

          Based on prior vaccinations, am I going to be sore in the morning? Yeah. Is it any worse than the flu vaccine I get literally every year that I qualify for the free one? No, I think it was actually a smaller needle than flu shot. That or I need better standards about the needle into arm procedure of the places I get the flu jab.

          1. Who Am I*

            Definitely less of a pinch than the flu shot. I mentioned that to the nurse administering it and she said she hears that from almost everyone.

            1. Quill*

              Mine was like “did you get your flu shot at the pharmacy? They don’t pick the most graceful people for those,” and I was not about to tell her that I grew up getting mine in a school cafeteria because teachers’ entire households could get theirs for free, and the process was something like being stuffed into a cattle chute and stabbed as quickly as possible.

              1. Old and Don’t Care*

                I got my flu shot at a pharmacy and did not feel a thing. People are so tiresome.

          2. Third or Nothing!*

            I’m so excited for you! What a relief it must be to finally have some protection against COVID that doesn’t rely on other people or on sequestering. I had my second dose of the Moderna shot about 2 weeks ago. Definitely painless going in, but ho boy it knocked me on my butt for the entire next day.

            If I may offer a small piece of unsolicited advice: take a shower now, and prepare a couple of I-feel-crappy meals. I did the shower part right before I went to get my second shot, but I did not get any food prepped and I regretted it. Had to make a quick broth based noodle soup to make sure I got at least some nutrients that day, and even just getting up occasionally to stir the noodles on the stove hurt.

            1. Artemesia*

              good advice. First shot no big deal — just very very sore arm about 6 hours to 24 hours after — Second shot, knocked us on our butts. Felt like dirt. the second day but fine the next. I am hoping that the reaction means it is working. I am old but have a pretty good immune system.

            2. nonegiven*

              I got the 2nd Pfizer about a week ago and my arm didn’t even hurt. It makes me wonder is it really working?

          3. No Hero*

            I got my first dose last Saturday – the needle did seem smaller than the flu needle and the jab didn’t hurt at all. Just so relieved to have gotten it!

            1. Alibaba*

              I had to trek through a freak snowstorm to get my second jab, but nothing was gonna stop me! And the freak snow storm insured that I had a nice, relaxing weekend unbothered by others while I recouperated

            2. The Meiji Restauration*

              I drove 4 hours to get my first dose of Moderna, at a walk-in mass vaccination center in (my own state demands we jump through the hoops of making appointments). I am so happy!

        2. cat lady*

          I used to be a “I don’t get the flu shot because I never get sick” person, until I read an article on herd immunity a few years ago that framed it as civic duty and an act of caring for immunocompromised folks.

        3. Windchime*

          Me too. I just don’t know how many more months I will have to wait to be eligible. Seems like everyone around me has just skipped on in to get their shots but I can’t get one, despite being overweight and having asthma.

        4. allathian*

          Yeah, me too, absolutely. My son’s mad that he probably won’t be able to get it because none of the vaccines available here haven’t been tested extensively on kids yet. He wants to see his grandparents in person again.

        5. Shhhh*

          I’m in that age group and used to be a “I never get sick so I’m not going to bother getting the flu shot” person. And I’m kind of ashamed to say that what turned me around on that was getting a really bad case of the flu in 2017. I never saw the flu shot as a herd immunity thing, partially because it’s so hit or miss from year to year and partially because before this year, most of the public health messaging around it was targeted toward older people.

          One thing about the COVID vaccine, though, might be that right now it’s just so hard to get in so many places. If I wasn’t eligible in my state (preexisting condition) and wasn’t terrified of getting it due to that same condition, I would probably be fairly indifferent about it at the moment. So there are probably a lot of people in their 20s and 30s who will get it when it’s convenient but aren’t making plans yet because it still seems so far off.

          As for me, I get my first dose tomorrow!

          1. Third or Nothing!*

            First dose tomorrow: congrats!!! I had mine last month and cried alllllllllllllll over the poor EMT who administered it. I wasn’t expecting to be quite that emotional but man, the sheer relief I felt was overwhelming.

  3. RulingWalnut*

    If it helps, you can think of it as punching someone. Most people wouldn’t argue a rule about not punching people is an overreach. It’s your body but your actions directly affect the health of the people around you.

    Yes, obviously this isn’t a perfect analogy but I think it’s good enough.

      1. Lance*

        The point is it’s a policy that protects the workers themselves as well as people around them.

      2. SqueezyCheese*

        The idea being that if you aren’t vaccinated you are more at risk of getting COVID. You can then spread it to colleagues who are immunocompromised and couldn’t get the vaccine, folks who got the vaccine but carry it with no symptoms that inadvertently pass it to older family members, etc. So you’re not entitled to “punch” someone with a disease you could have prevented getting had you gotten the vaccine.

      3. Wintermute*

        Yes, exactly. Or, I think a better analogy is you can’t go around planting land mines around. You know where the land mines are, you probably won’t step on one… okay but what about the other people around you, who may not know you are planting high explosives in random locations? There’s a not insubstantial chance you’re going to kill someone.

    1. Pinto*

      I disagree with your analogy. A vaccine protects the individual. We are already being told that vaccinated people must wear a mask as they could still infect the non-vaccinated. An employee being unvaccinated presents no more of a risk to co-workers than one who is vaccinated. The employer however could justifiably require vaccination for other reasons, but I would advise against using the rational that it protects coworkers if you do so.

      1. Spearmint*

        It does protect coworkers though. The media messaging on this has been frustratingly unclear, but the vaccines do reduce transmissibility significantly. The requirements to wear a mask for now, even post vaccination, is out of an abundance of caution until we are extremely sure it reduces transmissibility, but all evidence we have now points to it reducing transmissibility.

      2. RabbitRabbit*

        We are only being told that the vaccinated could still infect the unvaccinated because that was not studied in the vaccine trials – there was no time to do so. Some real-world data is coming in that makes that possibility seem highly unlikely. It is still best practice for the vaccinated to mask and socially distance from unvaccinated/unknown vaccination status people, but as more data comes in, we may have a more definitive answer to whether the vaccinated can pass along the disease.

        1. Marika*

          There is also the fact that, for now, we don’t have good documentation on WHO is vaccinated. The minute the authorities say “Oh, if you’re vaccinated, you don’t need to mask/distance/practice reduced harm measures” how many people are going to ditch everything and say “I got my shots” when they didn’t? My money says LOTS. And, if we do end up with ‘vaccine passports’, there’s going to be a thriving business in forgeries – hell, there’s already a thriving business in ‘vaccine exemption’ paperwork in states like California, where you can’t get a ‘personal exemption’ any longer – it has to be medical.

          1. Aggretsuko*

            Hopefully there will be some database or other where someone can actually look up if a person is to avoid forgeries….

            1. automaticdoor*

              There is! All the COVID vaccination records are stored in a CDC database, VAMS. You can look up proof of vaccine for at least yourself there. Not sure if companies can look up people though.

              1. automaticdoor*

                Well, correction. All the COVID vaccination records for states that opted into VAMS.

                1. kj*

                  And people like me who are in a clinical trial (I’m the AZ one) aren’t there.

                  Yes, they did confirm I got the real vaccine.

                2. Quill*

                  USA is going to be the last country to be able to travel to the rest of the world, all because we’re really 50 countries in a trench coat sneaking into an R-rated movie.

                3. Evan Þ.*

                  @Quill, given how we’re vaccinating people so much faster than most other countries, I rather doubt that.

              1. Wintermute*

                Those rights pale in comparison to the risks we are talking about here. Rights don’t mean you can’t ever, ever violate them. The government violates rights all the time. The courts apply a very sensible series of questions: Is this a legitimate government interest? And is this the least restrictive way to serve that government interest.

                Well in this case, I don’t think you can make any argument that “stopping citizens from dying in mass numbers and overwhelming our medical system” is not a legitimate government interest. That’s literally why we have a government.

                So it would fall to the second question. Is a secured database of people the least restrictive way to prevent people from lying about their status and allow people with legitimate need to access that information (airlines, employers, medical caregivers) a way to do so?

                I think you can argue that’s also a yes quite reasonably. If they wanted to tattoo people’s foreheads or something that wouldn’t be, but they’re not, they’re just keeping records.

            2. Ashley*

              Yeah but the person at the grocery store is going to go unmasked database or no database. I am not looking forward to the transition period.

              1. Amaranth*

                I’m anticipating seeing masks on people for years yet. I can’t imagine a particular benchmark yet that will make me feel comfortable running to the supermarket without one. Sure, I could do it after being vaccinated, but there’s no confirmation how long the shot conveys immunity at this point. Also, the people around me won’t know that I’ve had both shots unless I wear a sign (if they even trust that), so is it fair to stress them out, do I want the dirty looks? I live where most people mask up, but then a lot of those masked people ignore social distancing, so its difficult to have a lot of faith that strangers will be appropriately cautious.

            3. Good Vibes Steve*

              Hard to use the database when you’re just dealing with a random shopper in a supermarket who declares they don’t have to comply…

      3. Adam V*

        Recent updates to the CDC guidelines stated that it’s okay for fully-vaccinated households to visit with not-vaccinated, low-risk households without needing masks. From their site:

        “- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart.
        – Visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.
        – Refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19.”

        Granted, that’s households, not businesses, but that last point about refraining from quarantining and testing is a big plus for businesses as well.

      4. Quill*

        The Pfizer and moderna vaccines have just been proven to make you less likely to carry the virus and transmit it without an active invection.

        Traditionally made vaccines have been known to reduce transmission between groups as carried by vaccinated people for decades: think of them like a flea collar for people being transferred between households.

        When it comes to vaccines as preventative measures, the protocol is to GET vaccinated to potentially reduce spread, but not assume that other preventative measures, including not gathering, not eating inside restaurants, etc, can be forgone because you have been vaccinated.

        1. Emma*

          I really hope the “diaper on your face” crowd don’t get hold of that flea collar metaphor

          1. OP*

            This made me chuckle, and I agree, Quill – I am planning to continue to socially distance and wear a mask after I get the vaccine.

      5. FormerTVGirl*

        I believe this is actually inaccurate. We do not know for sure whether someone who has been vaccinated can spread the virus to others — we’re currently testing that theory now. But being vaccinated DOES protect others — it’s likely we’ll soon know for sure that it’s less likely vaccinated people can spread Covid, but we’re also on a path to herd immunity, which is not possible without mass vaccinations.

      6. Jerry Larry Terry Gary*

        What? Of course it protects others if you’re vaccinated?…They haven’t completed studies as to the degree of virus shedding that happens and are advising caution. Very different from wearing a mask = same as vaccination

      7. ChiNic*

        But there’s a psychological aspect to this. Right now, very few people are fully vaccinated. If a bunch of vaccinated people stop wearing masks, unvaccinated people may become complacent and stop wearing theirs, too. Until we reach herd immunity, it’s smart for all of us to continue wearing a mask in public.

      8. Artemesia*

        they don’t KNOW if vaccinated people can get the infection and infect others. Probably not — but they aren’t sure. without most people being vaccinated the disease will continue to circulate in the community.

    2. JM60*

      I’d argue it goes the other way around. Getting the vaccine is more like a light slap on the wrist. Giving COVID to someone because you didn’t get the vaccine is like punching them hard in the face (except getting punched in the face isn’t contagious and therefore can’t have exponential growth).

      The typical arguments about bodily autonomy typically go the other way during a major pandemic (your right to not be injected with COVID usually outweighs the rights of others to not be injected with a very low risk vaccine).

      1. JM60*

        Upon re-reading this hours later, I see I badly misread the person I responded to. It’s a good analogy IMO.

    3. chewingle*

      I think your analogy actually helps with my own response to this—it’s not just *your* body and your choice. The way you conduct yourself with COVID (and punching someone) affects other people, too.

  4. Xavier Desmond*

    My personal opinion is that the public health benefit of vaccination overrides the individual right to refuse in this instance. Our personal freedoms have been limited by this virus so the quicker we can get people vaccinated the quicker we can get those freedoms back.

    1. Jamie Starr*

      Our personal freedoms have been limited by big tech and the herd mentality that it’s okay – necessary even! – to share everything about our personal lives in the name of safety. Our freedoms and rights are being slowly eroded under the guise of fear and keeping people safe.

        1. Jamie Starr*

          You wrote, “our personal freedoms have been limited by this virus…” Our personal freedoms have been (and continue to be) limited by fear mongering and taking away our privacy, freedoms, etc. in the name of safety (e.g. mandatory covid vaccines in the name of restoring “freedoms”.)

            1. RabbitRabbit*

              And the context of it makes it utterly pointless for this use. He was literally making a pro-tax and pro-defense spending argument against someone who was trying to pay off the government to avoid taxation in a war against the Natives and French.

          1. Xavier Desmond*

            Nonsense. Our freedoms have been limited my measures taken to limit the spread of the virus. You may think these measures are either unnecessary or over the top but the death rates from covid prove you wrong

          2. Youngin*

            How is it fear mongering when the threat is credible? Mongering insinuates that the reason people are worried is petty/ stupid or without merit, when it is an actual threat that has already killed 550K in the US alone…

            Our “freedoms” are in the state they are because people don’t want to do what they need to for us to move past this and get on with our lives.

  5. KimberlyR*

    I have only routinely seen vaccine requirements in the field of healthcare (where I work.) But I agree that this will likely change, and more non-healthcare employers will require it from their staff.

    1. AsterRoc*

      I’m waiting to see if schools require the COVID vaccine from students. Right now they can require things like MMR, TDAP, and TB, for students in both K-12 and higher ed (or proof of antibodies if you can’t find a record of having the vaccine), with of course exceptions for PWD or religion.

      1. le teacher*

        I am a high school teacher and I have a feeling it will be required. This isn’t really based on anything I’ve seen but honestly, we have GOT to get school back on track and if that means requiring vaccinations, then so be it. We owe it to these kids. I like the framing of “vaccinations will actually allow us to get our freedoms back.”

        1. Dust Bunny*

          YES THANK YOU. The biggest obstacle right now is that so few people are vaccinated! I’m well under 65 and have no health problems so I expect it to be months before I can get the vaccine–I’m in a county that includes one of the biggest cities in the US–but I live with my elderly, immunocompromised parents. They’ve been vaccinated but I still worry about getting it and bringing it home.

      2. QED*

        Right now the current vaccines aren’t authorized for use on children, so if schools do, it’ll be awhile.

        1. Rachel in NYC*

          Pfizer has been authorized for age 16.

          I paid attention at yesterday’s vaccine forum. Didn’t know I had until just now.

      3. Quill*

        They’ll require it for populations that can have it as soon as it becomes feasible to expect that the majority of people can get it.

        Personally I’m waiting on the US, in particular, to realize that since public schools have to require vaccination for public safety, they have a duty to provide health care that includes vaccination to all children, free of charge.

        But the US hates spending money on education, public services, or medicine, so I expect this to be relitigated often in the coming years.

        1. Ace in the Hole*

          At the moment, none of the covid vaccines are approved for use on people under 16 years old. So they can’t very well start vaccinating school children even if they wanted to and were willing to spend the money.

          1. Quill*

            Yeah, that’s the “once it becomes feasible” part.

            It’s going to be most of the year before we either have enough vaccination that risks will drop or they’ll approve vaccine for even younger people.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            They can do school children’s colon at least the last couple of years when they are 16 and older.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              Oh. Myyyyy.
              Worst. Transcription. Ever.
              I laughed so hard I forgot what I’d just said. I think it was just punctuation.

          3. KimberlyR*

            They are actively doing clinical trials on pediatric doses now. I suspect we’ll see them starting to roll out this year. I doubt it would be in time for this school year but they may require it during the school year or by the next one. (US school year-I know other countries have other school timeframes.)

      4. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        Yes, a lot of higher ed institutions have also required a vaccine for meningitis, especially for students living in campus housing, for many years now. Food service is another industry that has had a vaccine requirement for hepatitis A for many years. Veterinary schools have often required a pre-exposure vaccine for rabies. Some industries with a risk of injury require a current tetanus vaccine — and that one isn’t even contagious. The military requires a large array of vaccination. There is a lot of precedent for employer or industry mandated vaccination.

      5. Emma*

        There was some research recently which indicates that children under 10 have a significantly lower risk of catching or transmitting the virus, so I think if anything it may only become mandatory for older children/teenagers.

      6. boop the first*

        I find the requirement really hard to believe when schools are already packing thousands of kids together in narrow hallways with the illusion of impunity!
        I can see it becoming part of the usual booster program, though. Slip a covid vaccine in with your tetanus schedule perhaps.

    2. Abogado Avocado*

      Vaccination also is required by some public safety departments and detention facilities.

    3. Pop*

      My husband’s employer (small family-owned cafe) requires everyone to get their flu shots! The employer pays for it (no health insurance). I suspect that once it is available to frontline workers in our state, the owner will require the covid vaccine for them as well.

    4. A bit anon today*

      When I was on my company covid committee and looking at guidelines on whether a mandate would be legal/ethical, one of the big points was if the company/industry was previously requiring flu vaccines (or some other type of vaccine). Another thing was looking at how the company currently handles sick time, health insurance, etc. A company that cared about employee’s welfare was more likely to hold up to scrutiny compared to a company that just didn’t want employees to work remotely or have time off.

      The research I’ve seen has been that listening to people and offering incentives like PTO time to recover are far more effective in getting people vaccinated. My unofficial anecdote was the employee interest in the vaccine plummeted when a rumor went around of mandate and then rebounded once we said a mandate was off the table for at least a year.

      1. OP*

        Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I think listening to people in general is often the right way to go. I can definitely understand why interest would plummet under a mandate, possibly just because of the mandate itself and for no other reason. There are many other options for incentivizing this vaccination without an outright mandate that may make employees feel better about getting it.

    5. MsClaw*

      I would be really shocked if we started seeing it required broadly by employers in the US. There are sectors where requiring vaccines is already a norm, but in a *lot* of workplaces there are no such requirements and I can’t imagine a lot of employers will want to tackle that. They *can* require it, but do they want that headache?

      Right now, my employer has no idea what vaccines I do or don’t have, and I prefer it that way.
      A lot of people, even those who are eager to get the vaccine, will not want their employers all up in their medical grill or want any kind of medical status (including vaccination status) shared with their coworkers.
      Some people are unfortunate enough to work for bosses/employers who are anti-vax; I wouldn’t want to see people getting fired or hassled for being vaccinated either.

      1. OP*

        I agree with you and such good points. This is an issue triggered by this mandate policy – we are being asked to notify the company when we have scheduled our appointment and when we have received the vaccine, and anyone seeking to be exempted from the vaccine will have to have a discussion with management about their reasons, the conversation of which would likely center around other health issues like allergies, disabilities, or religion, as Alison listed. There are good reasons I can think of for not wanting to disclose this kind of personal information to an employer and all of your coworkers.

        1. MsClaw*

          I personally plan to get the vaccine the very second I can, but I am aware that I have coworkers who likely won’t. Personally, I wouldn’t want to know for sure, because it can be hard for me to un-know things about my colleagues that lower my opinion of them.

          My office has made it clear that they’d like to know how many people have gotten it — but they don’t want to track which individuals have. They’re working on an anonymous way for people to report they’ve been vaccinated so they know the percentage without being able to do specific attribution.

    6. JustaTech*

      I work in biotech (non-patient facing) and we are required to *offer* the Hepatitis B vaccine to everyone (because we work with human blood and HepB has no cure).
      We are also required to keep records on who said they were already vaccinated, who chose to get vaccinated and who chose not to get vaccinated, in case of a contamination injury at work (where you’d also be sent off for testing and possibly offered anti-retrovirals against HIV).

      Because HepB is bloodborne and not airborne the risk to coworkers from an infected employee is less, so we don’t *require* the HepB, we just have to offer it and keep record of your choice.

      (Me, I collect vaccines like some people collect china dolls, but I know I’m an outlier.)

  6. Vaxxing Poetically*

    Yeah, this makes me nervous too. I’m not anti-vaxxing, but I definitely want to wait a while so we can see what the long term effects are. And since I’m not in healthcare or the military, I don’t want to be told to get this yet in order to pay my bills.

    Also, since I’m here, here’s a plea/reminder/note that it’s OKAY to still be private about your health! No need to announce illnesses, vaccinations, and other health statuses on social media, work, and elsewhere! I am feeling and seeing a lot of social pressure to update everyone and announce needle injections.

    1. FormerTVGirl*

      I think some of the “pressure” to announce having gotten the COVID-19 vaccine is about normalizing getting the vaccine and, hopefully, positively influences people who are on the fence about getting it. I completely understand the hesitancy to get the vaccine, but if 40% of our country is hesitant, we’ll never reach herd immunity and we’ll be stuck in this situation for a lot longer than I think any of us wants. It’s totally OK to be private about health! But I don’t think it’s wrong to be upbeat about encouraging people to post about getting the vaccine if they’re comfortable doing so!

    2. Maltypass*

      IIRC I believe Dr Fauci said the majority of side effects of vaccinations show in the first 6 months, and long term studies rarely show effects years into the future? Also while I agree you don’t need to announce things on social media I disagree that total privacy is the way to go when it comes to something like Covid as knowing someone’s vaccination status can help you make work decisions like who is safer to travel if necessary and just in general these statuses help us make informed safe decisions. It’s not always necessary but it’s naïve to think everyone should just be private about it

      1. Rachel in NYC*

        Also there is an app specifically for the Covid vaccines to report side effects. I’m assuming they’re telling people about it when you get the first dose.

        But I imagine it makes a huge difference for finding out about side effects- no waiting for doctors to report issues. You can report for yourself or a family member on a phone, and the CDC reaches out to you for updates.

        1. Susie*

          I’m getting my vaccine at CVS and info about the side effect tracker is included in both the confirmation and reminder emails.

        2. WendyRoo*

          Not an app, but there is a federal database called VAERS. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national vaccine safety surveillance program run by CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If any health problem happens after vaccination, anyone – doctors, nurses, vaccine manufacturers, and any member of the general public – can submit a report to VAERS.

          1. Pharmgirl*

            There is an app! Or a website maybe. It’s called vsafe, specifically for covid vaccines and it tracks short and long term side effects for one year if you sign up.

      2. Vaxxing Poetically*

        I said it’s OKAY to still be private about it, not that everyone MUST be private about it.

        1. Ashley*

          I think it is okay to extent. This is part of the problems experienced with contact tracing. Sometimes the best course for public health is to share some info.

      3. Jim Bob*

        Sure, most vaccine studies until now show few late side effects; however, the leading vaccines for Covid are a new, first-in-class type, to which there is no guarantee those studies apply.

        I will get one, but I don’t think waiting for long-term safety data is unreasonable, and I don’t think we should be mandating an emergency-use-only vaccine the manufacturers have been indemnified in advance for.

        1. boop the first*

          I cant help but feel nervous about (and only about) the J&J vaccine, considering their history with pelvic mesh and talcum powder and prosthetics and scamming seniors into taking unsafe medication for profit, and just overall unethical behaviour. I wish the first simple/practical vaccine was made by literally anyone other than them!

    3. Spearmint*

      If it’s any comfort to you, people who participated in the initial clinical trials have had these vaccines for almost a year and there isn’t much evidence of long term, negative effects among them.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, I understand when people say they want to wait and see, but I always wonder HOW long they are going to wait and see. Another couple of months? Okay, fine, you probably can’t get one until May or June anyway so no harm done. Another few years? I’m concerned if it’s the last one, especially since Covid is so fatal/disabling to so many people. A vaccine would have to like, make my body parts fall off before I’d refuse it at this point. I can’t imagine a vaccine that is worse than the disease would get approved. Much less three of them.

        1. Quill*

          Yeah. Anyone who has an adverse reaction is having a unique, personal, interaction between the vaccine and some unrelated condition or illness. It will, due to how immunization works, be far less severe than if they’d gotten COVID.

          If you need to worry about the covid vaccine, you probably already know about any health conditions that you have that could interact with it, such as allergies to common vaccine preparation ingredients, or an immune system that goes to DEFCON 1 every time you get an injection.

          1. OP*

            I will just point out the Floridian doctor that died after getting the vaccine because of a hemorrhage.

            1. sequined histories*

              That’s one person out of how many, though? Obviously, such events should be investigated thoroughly. But if you vaccinate large numbers of people, some of them will die shortly afterward purely by chance.

              I have had a serious allergic reaction to an antibiotic. It was quite scary. I’m lucky I didn’t die. But you know what? In a world without antibiotics and vaccines, my chances of dying earlier in life due to some infection would have been quite substantial. I may only have lived long enough to have that allergic reaction BECAUSE of that same antibiotic, which I had taken before without incident.

              I get that this whole situation has been really scary. I understand the desire to feel in control of the risks you take. But if you are more scared of an allergic reaction or some post vaccination syndrome than you are of remaining unvaccinated, your brain is playing tricks on you. Delaying vaccination is far, far, far more dangerous than taking any of these vaccines. Waiting around is like driving drunk because you think it will protect you from being struck by lightning.

              1. OP*

                If I were to opt in to take the vaccine on my own, as I had originally planned, and I were one of the few that died, at least I could rest in peace knowing it was entirely my decision to take the vaccine. Now that there is a company mandate and I am getting pushed hard to take the vaccine ASAP, if I were to die, I wouldn’t be able to be sure whose decision it was to get the vaccine – mine or my company’s.

                1. sequined histories*

                  I think dying sounds pretty distressing overall. If you wait—as a matter of principle because you’re entitled to make your own choices and your company is wrong to push you—and you die of COVID—which is statistically far, far, far more likely than the scenario you suggest—would you really “rest in peace” knowing it had been your decision?

                  And what about the possibility of killing a caregiver in the ICU on your way out?

        2. Carol*

          Yeah, ordinarily I would be more cautious about a newer shot, but you look at the 30-year-olds on ventilators and the “long COVID” sufferers who may have indefinite chronic conditions now…you wanna do COVID roulette? Just gimme a shot.

          1. Lacey*

            Yes. Plus, I know a few people who work in medical research and they’ve been super reassuring (not that you should take my word as a random internet person for it) so between that and the terrifying long term covid stuff… I’m getting the shot as soon as I can.

          2. Quill*

            Yeah. I personally waited on one of the newer adult vaccinations because I was very low risk and didn’t want a repeat of the chicken pox thing, where I got the vaccine as soon as it was approved and didn’t become fully immune.

            But it was overall a VERY low risk (the vaccine protects you against viruses that you basically need to get your clothes off with someone in order to get, I have to date no interest in doing that with anyone I have ever met) and I only waited a couple years to make sure they had the dosage worked out and my insurance would consider it “recommended” instead of “optional.”

            Covid is such a higher risk that delays could be fatal.

          3. almost daily*

            Exactly. When the choices are “vaccine that is new but after several months looks to be safe” versus “disease that is new but after several months looks HORRIFYING” I’m going to go ahead and choose the vaccine.

        3. Pippa K*

          Yes, plus the longer it takes to get most people vaccinated, the more COVID variants will develop that might not be caught by the current vaccines. ‘As many people as possible as quickly as possible’ is definitely the way to go here.

        4. Doc in a Box*

          “I can’t imagine a vaccine that is worse than the disease”

          Exactly. Your options to get out of this hole we’ve dug ourselves is (1) get the vaccine, or (2) get covid, or (3) there is no third option.

          Not to mention that at this point, nearly 33 million people in the US have been fully vaccinated, most with the mRNA vaccines and about a half-million with the J&J vaccine. About half of those vaccinated (16M) are older adults. If the vaccine were even 1/10th as serious as the disease, we’d have several thousand people dead of the vaccine and another million or so with debilitating “long Pfizer” or “long Moderna.”

    4. RabbitRabbit*

      Long-term effects are extremely, vanishingly unlikely due to how vaccines work.

      Announcing vaccination is encouraged by the hospital where I work, to normalize and promote vaccination.

    5. america heck yeah*

      You *should* feel pressured to get a vaccine, because your refusal is a threat to every single person you breathe near.

      If you want to live in ignorance and fear, you can find a job working with other equally ignorant and fearful people. Don’t put sensible people (and all children) at risk.

          1. Vaxxing Poetically*


            This is the problem. Me saying that I want to wait awhile does not mean that I am an anti vaxxer. You calling me an anti vaxxer doesn’t make me one. Me wanting to be private about my status doesn’t make me an antivaxxer, wrong, bad, evil, trying to get others sick, etc. This is the rhetoric that I see and what I want to avoid. Also, I very clearly stated that I am not an antivaxxer and that I simply wanted to wait.

            Any modicum of questioning or dissent (not even dissent, really. Just a question and reminder that you don’t have to announce your health status) is automatically dismissed as someone you don’t need to hear out.

            I said that you don’t have to announce your health status and doing that makes people feel pressured to announce their health status. You said that you WANT to pressure people to get the vaccine and announce their status, completely missing my point. Don’t be an obnoxious bully, is all I’m saying.

            1. Student Affairs Sally*

              “Me saying that I want to wait awhile does not mean that I am an anti vaxxer”

              Perhaps, but saying “I don’t think it’s safe to get the vaccine yet for reasons that I can’t define, so I’m going to wait until some nebulous thing happens to change my opinion and make me feel safe about it” when there is abundant evidence that the vaccines ARE safe and ARE saving lives . . . doesn’t really seem very pro-vaxx (or very informed about vaccines)

            2. David*

              I understand the desire to keep this private, certainly. No one should be revealing information about which they’re not comfortable when it comes to their health. If you want to share to make others feel comfortable, certainly I’d support it, but if not, that’s reasonable.

              As for the “wait and see” bit… I’d implore you to reconsider.

              The reality is that for decades almost every vaccine that has made it to human trials has been, at minimum, harmless. We’ve weeded out the adjuvants which were potentially harmful to humans (especially children) and not repeated the errors that led to them. Aside from some well-known and easily predictable allergic reactions, there are very, very few adverse effects not directly related to the immune response we’re attempting to provoke. Certainly, we don’t see “long-term” effects due to vaccinations past a few weeks. In fact, by its very nature, an mRNA vaccine cannot have any long-term effects aside from the training of the immune system that is its primary goal.

              The chance of your contracting COVID and it causing long-term consequences ranging from “annoying” to “debilitating”, even if you’re young and healthy, are nontrivial. Certainly, they’re much greater than the chances that a COVID vaccine causes anything more than the one day of exhaustion and soreness it caused me.

              1. Elizabeth McDonald*

                Yes. We know for a FACT that Covid can cause long-term health issues, even in people who were young and healthy when they contracted it. It’s the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t, only there’s also pretty solid evidence that the devil you don’t know is probably a scarecrow with a Halloween mask on.

            3. Penny Parker*

              I do not want to be around anyone who is not vaccinated. If you refuse the vaccine when offered please stay home. If you need to go out to go to work then get the vaccine.

            4. Quill*

              Most people pushing for greater vaccination RESPONSIBLY would 1) beg you to consider getting it as soon as it’s available for you, after you’ve addressed your concerns with an actual doctor 2) beg you to stop posting about “IDK it seems a little cootiesish, do I really need it?” Because that provides the cover for people to fearmonger about its effects.

              You don’t have to announce to the world “yes I got the vaccine” but you are going to get significant pushback if you continue to make comments on the internet about how the rest of us should stop saying get the vaccine if at all possible because you’re having doubts that we, as not your doctor, are not qualified to fully address.

              As many people have already said, there is a LOT of data on the safety of this. It seems scarier than any other vaccine to you because it’s new and because everything is scary this year. You don’t have to disclose any medical information to us, so please if you have even the most nebulous fear about it, talk to your doctor.

    6. redheadedscientist*

      Out of curiosity, how long is long enough for you to see long-term effects? One year? Five? (I realize this sounds combative but I’m asking this in good faith! I was hesitant too about getting the vaccine but the science is sound)

      1. Vaxxing Poetically*

        A while. I’ll wait until I’m more comfortable than I am now. What that looks like, I’m not sure. But that doesn’t mean that I am reckless. It means that I am making a private decision.

        1. Student Affairs Sally*

          So what criteria are you looking for to make you feel more “comfortable”? I’m really confused by your position that getting the vaccine (for which there is abundant data on its safety) is riskier than getting COVID (for which there is abundant data that it is often deadly or has long-term negative consequences)

          1. JM60*

            It sounds like they – like most people hesitant to get a COVID vaccine – are basing the length of their delay on emotion (comfort) rather than data. I have a hard time understanding it because I think the known long-term risks of COVID are much scarier than a hypothetical long-term side effect of a vaccine that we have no evidence of almost a year after the first human injections.

          1. Vaxxing Poetically*

            Just because I’m waiting doesn’t mean I’m out and about maskless in public. It doesn’t mean I’m licking doorknobs and coughing in people’s faces, so no, I am not putting everyone around me in danger for no reason.

            1. H2*

              As long as you know that this stance goes against science and against the principles of risk assessment. And that you realize that the more people who get the vaccine, the safer everyone is and the closer we are to being able to safely reopen schools and live normally. I understand wanting more data on something, but in this case you’re making this decision based on fear and not on facts.

              FWIW, I have a doctorate in environmental engineering, and I teach risk assessment at the graduate level, and I cried the day I was able to get my Covid vaccine. Now I can prevent a situation where I bring it home to my kids and husband.

              1. H2*

                I will add that I didn’t post about getting the shot on social media because I’m private about everything and don’t really post on social media. But I have no problem with peer pressure to get the covid vaccine. You can be private! No one will judge you for not posting about it, but it’s similarly fine for them to be excited.

            2. LunaLena*

              Just want to point out that I did everything “right” (always masking and social distancing in public, washing hands frequently, staying home 99% of the time, etc) and I still got COVID. So no, just because you’re taking precautions doesn’t mean you’re not putting people around you in danger. That’s like saying you’re a good driver so you’ll never get into an accident.

              You seem utterly convinced that you will never get it, since you don’t seem particularly worried for yourself, just for “everyone around you.” What makes you so sure of this that you would rather wait to get the vaccine? Just curious, because I had a pretty mild case and it suuuuuuucked. I frankly can’t wait to get vaccinated, I never want to go through that again. My father-in-law wasn’t so lucky – he passed away right after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved and rollout started for healthcare workers. Had he lived he would have been on oxygen tanks for the rest of his life, because the virus scarred his lungs so badly he couldn’t breathe on his own any more. He will never get to enjoy retirement now. He will never see his younger son get married (the wedding was on hold due to the pandemic). He won’t be there when my husband graduates from school in May. I guess this is less worrying to you than possible unproven side effects, though, and I just wonder – why? Is it simply because you don’t believe it could actually happen to you?

              1. David*

                I got floored by a “mild” case in the very earliest days of the pandemic, before anyone was really paying much attention here. Flew through an airport that was an early hotspot in Feb. 2020 (with an N95 mask and having booked out the adjacent seats) and within about a week and a half I was running a fever of 104.5 and felt like I was dying, like someone had strapped a belt around my ribcage and tightened down.

                I seem to have gotten off lucky, though; no lasting effects that have shown up on testing or that I’ve noticed.

                I damned well got the vaccine as soon as it was released to my risk group. 2nd shot in another 13 days, fingers crossed. If a booster comes out from Moderna for the SA variant, I will be the first person back in line.

            3. Self Employed*

              I know people who’ve caught COVID before we were wearing masks, or from faaamily where of course (eyeroll) nobody was wearing masks.

              I also know people who have had COVID (and even died of it) when they were doing all the right things, including avoiding unmasked people. So it IS possible to spread COVID while wearing a mask, even during the incubation period when you don’t even know you have it.

              This means we are ALL taking a risk of spreading COVID when we leave our homes unvaccinated. I am not eligible to get the vaccine for way too long, but if I could get it and chose not to, I would be putting others at risk for no reason.

            4. Oaktree*

              Then so long as you commit to staying in your house and not endangering others by interacting with them, we’re good. Just stay home until you feel “comfortable”. Don’t go out. Order your groceries in. Work from home. Stay away from other people.

              Just do that until you’re “comfortable” with the level of risk you assume by getting the vaccine, and don’t impose your presence on other people – interacting with a vaccine-hesitant person during a pandemic is a level of risk I’m not willing to assume.

        2. Littorally*

          It does mean that you’re weighting unquestioned gut feelings more strongly than demonstrated science. I would strongly urge you to interrogate this feeling of comfort, set some standards for yourself on when you will be ready to take this vaccine, and remember that gut feelings can absolutely be wrong.

        3. KAZ2Y5*

          Would it help to know that scientists have been researching coronaviruses for approximately 50 years? And have been researching mRNA vaccines since the SARS outbreak in 2003 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS in 2012 (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome)? In January 2020 scientists were able to get the genetic sequence of the covid-19 virus and were able to use the previous 15 years of study to quickly develop a vaccine for study. And the reason it went so fast after that was that every government threw as much money as necessary at it. Therefore there were no delays due to funding (or lack thereof). I will put a link in another comment but you can just google “how long has the covid vaccine been in development”.

        4. Person*

          Please be willing to examine the idea that this is a private decision. This is a disease that can spread rapidly in situations where people just live their lives. Masks and social distancing are mitigation measures, they are not foolproof. I have a friend who did everything right and is now facing a long-term affect that literally impairs his ability to do his career (he has lung scarring and works as a vocalist). It’s good to be safe, but it’s not accurate to say you’re protecting others if you’re delaying a really effective tool in mitigating the spread.

          I have severely immunocompromised loved ones. I’m depending on other people to be responsible to keep them alive. I’m depending on herd immunity to vaccinate them. Indecision is very much a decision, and it’s a decision to keep others at a higher risk. As others have said, the evidence doesn’t support that waiting is the higher risk option for you. Please do the internal emotional work needed to get past that.

          Also, please resist the urge to shut down people who are frustrated with your statements as bullies. There’s a difference between being polite and being kind. Protecting others from disease is kind. Expressing frustration that others won’t do so may be impolite, but it is not unkind, and I don’t think it’s bullying. Insisting that people be okay with you for increasing our public risk is the unkind behavior here. There’s reason for people to be uncomfortable with anything related to this stuff–people have had bad experiences with the medical profession–so please recognize that while it might be natural to have concerns, acting on those concerns rather than the data and the need to support each other is going to cause a lot of well-justified frustration from others.

          1. redheadedscientist*

            You are exactly right! Getting vaccinated is not a private decision because we live in a society. And when you live in a society you do certain things. You can’t drive at whatever speed you want, you can’t smoke cigarettes wherever you want, you have to wear a seatbelt, and you also have to get your vaccines. Because we live in a society.

      2. Quill*

        General answer to most vaccinations: adverse reactions will occur within about two weeks as the immune system works against the virus sample and all non-active parts of the vaccine metabolize.

        For more specific information, have a poke around the CDC website.

      3. Filosofickle*

        It’s a good question. Last summer/fall, I was honestly glad that I was so low on the priority list. Like the poster above, I was planning to do it but was grateful for a built-in 6-12 months to let things play out. But I didn’t have an answer for how I would be convinced. Who would I trust? What data would I need to see? Is 6-12 months going to change the outcomes that much? Because I was never willing to wait years. I couldn’t come up with anything concrete. But since it was still theoretical it didn’t matter. Now, many month later, enough time has gone that I’m in. The data looks solid. People I trust say it’s safe. I’m done with all this and eager to do my part for herd immunity. If I could get a shot tomorrow I’d grab it.

        1. AS*

          YES – i had the exact same perspective as an early 30s healthy gal in a big city who has managed to go this long without contracting it. But i became eligible recently and I got my shot yesterday for the same reasons you mention. Cheers mate!

          1. Self Employed*

            Wow, where do you live that has such good vaccine access? I am in a major metro area that is having supply problems, so I’m old enough to be your mom and it will be months till I’m eligible.

    7. WendyRoo*

      I’m more worried about the long-term health issues caused by COVID, not the vaccine. According to UC Health Davis, around 10-30% of covid patients experience lingering negative effects like loss of taste/smell, fatigue, brain fog, and permanent organ damage. On the other hand, millions of people have already received the vaccine and all the evidence points to it being quite safe!

      1. Elliot*

        Came here to say exactly this! The long-term effects of covid are real, studied, documented, and potentially life-altering. Whereas almost every expert agrees that long-term effects with vaccines are extremely rare.
        Also – the moral long-term effect of knowing your “caution” about a safe vaccine may have killed someone seems more severe than day of having a sore arm…

      2. Aggretsuko*

        Me too!

        I will happily be an example of how this goes for anyone if that helps any, especially once I’m in the full clear.

      3. Anononon*

        Yes, this. My friend, who’s in her mid-thirties and generally healthy, got COVID a bit less than a year ago. She’s still having life-altering breathing issues and brain fog.

      4. Lana Kane*

        Exactly this. There are no long term issues reported from the different vaccines, but it is unquestionable that COVID does have them.

        The hospital where I work is starting a “long COVID” clinic precisely to start caring for these patients.

      5. Amethystmoon*

        A coworker of mine got Covid around Thanksgiving and still has taste & smell issues. She had no other symptoms.

      6. Bee*

        There also aren’t really any vaccines that have surprise long-term complications, so this is kind of a weird objection to me! Sure, it’s a new form of immunization, but so was the first-ever vaccine, and none of them have turned out to later cause cancer or something. There are always going to be people who have complications or reactions from any form of medication, but it’s far, far rarer than bad reactions to disease.

        As someone who, in the past 18 months, had both a bad-and-lingering reaction to the flu shot AND a four-month stretch of symptoms that looked exactly like long covid (but was not, this was pre-covid), I would take the bad reaction to the vaccine over feeling like that for the rest of my life in a HEARTBEAT.

      7. AntsOnMyTable*

        I am on month 4 with still having pretty diminished taste and smell and I am getting really worried it won’t come back. It has had such a surprisingly negative impact on my life. Especially since some things aren’t just diminished but *altered* so now becomes unpalatable. And, oddly, I just had things change about 3 weeks ago – sulfur (I think that is what it is) is now a vile fish smell to me.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Yeah, death seems kinda, y’know, permanent and all that?

        Also, Nick Cordero. Good god, what that poor guy went through.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Seriously, my cousin had a very mild case and is still dealing with side-effects months later.

    8. Wanda*

      I don’t WANT to be private about it. I want to shout it to the rooftopsv! I want everyone to know I got it. And I want to know everyone I love has got it.

      And I don’t want to be anywhere near someone who refuses to get it. It’s not just a vaccine they don’t get. It’s so much more.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        I’ll put it this way: I can understand not shouting it to the rooftops right now because people who can’t get one right now and want one are rightfully feeling shitty about that. I certainly was before I became eligible, so I will probably wait to super shout until more people have access.

        But I am gonna encourage everyone I can. And I ordered a “I got vaccinated” button off Etsy for the future :P

        1. Ashley*

          Yeah – I judge people who are line jumping or fibbing about medical need, but when it is fully available you better get it.
          The other problem with delays is the continuing mutation which could undermine the vaccines available and potentially put us back to 2020.

        2. EchoGirl*

          I was going to say something like that, that some people might prefer to keep their status private because they don’t want to feel like they’re rubbing it in people’s faces (especially if they’re among the first of their friends and/or family to be vaccinated), or they’re worried about vitriol from people who think it shouldn’t have been that person’s “turn” yet (similar to how some people nitpick at people using handicapped parking). But if they *want* to share, by all means they should.

        3. Windchime*

          Yep. I’m feeling pretty crappy about the fact that they are advertising appointments here, having big vaccination events, etc, but I can’t get one even though there seems to be plenty of vaccine. So yeah, seeing people crow about being vaccinated is pretty discouraging to those of us who want it but are being denied access.

        4. Third or Nothing!*

          Exactly. I am fully vaccinated because I’m in Group 1B due to asthma, but I’ve really only told my family and close friends (and well I guess you guys but you don’t know my name) because Texas rollout has been so crappy and a lot of people who are also in our group have been waiting even longer than I did. There’s a lot of resentment around young (mostly) healthy folks like me getting vaccinated when 85 year old folks like my grandmother are still waiting.

      2. Oxford Comma*

        I was ecstatic when I got my first shot. You couldn’t have stopped me from sharing it on social media. I’m doing everything I can to help my friends and family who are eligible and who want the vaccine to get appointments.

        We have a chance at beating this thing, but only if we get herd immunity.

      3. Maggie*

        All they meant was you can be private if you want. And you dont want to be so go forth and shout from the rooftops! Seriously, no snark, you should do what you want! Thats the point :)

      4. Not playing your game anymore*

        This!! I’m walking of Freaking Sunshine today. My Mom had her second dose a couple weeks ago as did her caregiver. I had my first last week. My partner’s first shot was yesterday, a dear friend got her second shot today another friend will get her first on Friday. There is finally hope that we’ll see the end of this monster, and I don’t want some antivax numbskull to introduce a variant that Pfizer can’t cope with!

        1. Third or Nothing!*

          I cried all over the poor EMT administering my first dose. I’ve lived an entire year actively trying not to die while hearing all about how I’m a sheep, living in fear, should just stay home, overreacting, need more faith, etc. I’m finally starting to feel like I can move out of crisis management mode. It’s a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.

      5. Vaxxing Poetically*

        That’s great for you, but I’m saying that because of this, some people feel some societal pressure to need to announce it. I’m adding a note that it is STILL OKAY to be private.

        Just because you “want to know everyone you love has got it” doesn’t mean that they need to tell you.

        Privacy about health is okay, and pressuring people into revealing some information is still gross.

        1. Double A*

          Yes, but if they decline to tell people their vaccinated status, it’s reasonable for other people to assume the answer is “No” and to decline to be around them. I would do this to protect the unvaccinated person; I guess if you want to take risks with your own life that’s your choice, but don’t ask me to be the one to point the gun and pull the trigger to find out if it’s loaded or you’re wearing a bulletproof vest or not.

        2. H2*

          I disagree with your stance on waiting to get the vaccine, based on the facts that we have, but I do totally agree with this.

        3. Jobbyjob*

          Here’s the deal. It’s also my right not to be around anyone who isn’t safe. So if I ask you whether you are vaccinated, you can choose not to answer but that will be the same as saying you haven’t been for the purposes of my risk assessment. And I’ll stay far away.

            1. LDF*

              That is exactly how the world works. My cousin has celiac. If she asks “are the fries fried in the same oil as the chicken tenders” and the waiter refuses to go ask the chef, she will not be ordering fries because she has to assume they are contaminated by breadcrumbs. And gluten is a lot less lethal than covid.

        4. Courageous cat*

          Nah, privacy is something you get for things that only affect you. When things affect/can KILL someone around you, you don’t get privacy – you *should* get peer pressure. I don’t think you should expect anything less. This isn’t just about you.

      6. aurora borealis*

        You don’t “want to be anywhere near someone who refuses to get it. It’s not just a vaccine they don’t get. It’s so much more.” Out of genuine curiosity- if I say I have not had the vaccine and won’t be getting it in the near future- how do you know I REFUSE to get it? How do you know that I actually WOULD get it, but have been told by my Doctor to NOT get it right now because the vaccine itself my cause my death? It is not your business, or anyone else’s why I can’t/won’t get it. You don’t know me or my medical history, yet you feel you can stand in judgment of me & others in my shoes? How do you sleep at night knowing you judge people based on medical issues that are not, in fact, within their control? How far do you actually carry that feeling towards people?

        1. twocents*

          No one is obligated to risk dying just so you can feel smug about how they’re actually the judgemental one, not you.

        2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          I will continue to be cautious around anyone un-vaccinated until I’ve had both doses of the vaccine. But if you — or anyone — told me “my doctor says I shouldn’t get this vaccine, because it’s high risk for me,” I would (a) not try to persuade you to change your mind, and (b) possibly say that part of why I’m glad to be vaccinated is for the people who can’t be.

          I wouldn’t ask your medical history if you told me something like “my doctor says it’s not safe for me.” But that’s going to get a very different response from me than the relative who insists that Covid is trivial, or someone who is worried that Bill Gates is somehow hiding microchips in the vaccine doses, or even the people who are sure that if they eat the right things they won’t get Covid.

          As with any vaccine, there’s a relatively small part of the population that can’t be safely vaccinated, either not now or not ever. Many of those people are also at higher risk of infection, and of death or serious illness from this or any disease. I can’t do anything directly about people’s allergies (or other medical issues that mean someone can’t have this vaccine), but the more of us who do get vaccinated, the lower your risk, and everyone’s. vaccinated, people with allergies to the vaccine

        3. TX Lizard*

          I might not be judging you, but I won’t be hanging out with you. Your reason for not getting the vaccine isn’t the important thing. If you are unvaccinated, I will be staying away to protect BOTH of us.
          Even if your reason for not getting the vaccine is a good one (not available to you, contraindicated, etc) that doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk for getting or spreading covid.

      7. pope suburban*

        I feel similarly. I got my first dose last week, thanks to my job, and I want to talk about it. I want people to know they can ask me questions about it or share their concerns with me. I want to be visibly investing in this so that it becomes normalized. I want to support the public-health initiative that will help everyone out. If that means answering a few questions, well, so be it! I feel like this is the most I can do to help out, not being a medical or science professional. I absolutely don’t judge people who want to be private, because this is still health information and because I don’t know their circumstances (I’ve heard of people getting nasty comments from others, for example, because they got the vaccine before these people; I understand the desire to snark, but I also understand the desire to avoid being snarked at). It’s just, for me, one little thing I can do to help out.

    9. Maggie*

      Couldn’t agree more. Im planning on getting the vaccine but thats my business, and I dont think my non healthcare related business where I dont work with the public or vulnerable people has a right to require a vaccine thats less than a year old. Sorry but no. I think its wrong to say get a medical treatment thats not even fully FDA approved for regular use or livelihood. Although the message is pretty much “get the vaccine if you want any of your freedoms back”. For what is worth I think enough business owners and operators wouldn’t support mandatory vaccination that I dont see it taking off. Its not like its something that 100% or even 50% of business owners agree with. Also, I dont think my company has a right to my personal medical info! Bc they do not!

      1. Librarian of SHIELD*

        I disagree with this so, so much. Unless your job is going to be WFH on a permanent basis from now on, you will share office space and other facilities with your coworkers. And if you’re sharing any kind of space or materials with your coworkers, your employer has the right to ensure that you’re not risking the lives of other employees, which means they have the right to require you to be vaccinated unless you have a medical reason not to be.

        Millions of people have been vaccinated at this point, and the people who participated in the test and study phase have been vaccinated for quite some time. If there were horrible long term ramifications of the vaccines, we would know that by now. As long as your employer allows you to opt out with a doctor’s note, they are not requiring you to harm yourself.

        1. Maggie*

          Well we might disagree but thanks for laying it out for me from your eyes. Im still learning and developing how I think about this each day

          1. OP*

            I agree with you fundamentally and from what I’ve seen I think you’re right – I also expect most companies will not go the mandate route and for good reasons that have not been vetted here. I think there are a lot of factors that may affect how one feels about this, which is another reason I think individuals need to be able to make their own decision about how to best proceed for their own situation without being pressured by their employer or anyone else. I have spent a considerable amount of time rushing to research these vaccines and this issue this week in an attempt to make an informed personal decision about my health on my company’s timeline. I can imagine different circumstances where it might make sense to rush, but it is an unnecessary pressure in my situation. I don’t appreciate the pressure or having to share my personal health information with my employer.

      2. Amtelope*

        If you don’t get the vaccine, you may catch COVID and give it to your coworkers. They may die as a result. Your employer has an interest in not having their employers die. Therefore I think it’s fair for them to require the vaccine.

      3. Wintermute*

        This is a matter of basic freedom of association. I have the right to refuse to associate with people that don’t get the vaccine, that’s my right. If me and enough of my coworkers feel that way then we have the legal right to bring our position to management and even threaten to strike. Management can choose to weather the strike or they can capitulate.

        It follows from basic rights that we have as citizens and employees that we can force our employer to choose.

    10. HS Teacher*

      I’m black and have a slew of relatives who don’t trust vaccines. This is because of how we were treated historically, and I completely understand the position. However, that’s why I posted on Facebook after both my shots and also updates about how I was doing. We need to normalize this in order to survive the pandemic.

      1. iglwif*

        This! I understand exactly why my Black friends and colleagues are skeptical, and also I still really, really want them to get vaccinated, because I don’t want them to die from, or suffer long-term health effects from surviving, COVID.

      2. Vaxxing Poetically*

        This is a great point, thank you for saying this. The people who post like you are very few and far between in my social media feeds.

        1. Oof*

          So you understand the positive social message of people sharing how they got vaccinated? I’m confused.

      3. The Original K.*

        Ditto. My uncle and cousin are doctors (my uncle is mostly retired) and they both tell everyone they know that they got it because they want to help with some of the mistrust that the medical community has earned by the Black population. My cousin posted selfies for each dose (my uncle isn’t on social media).

        My mother, sibling and I are all vaccinated. I didn’t post about it on social media and neither did my mother (she’s not on it), but I have mentioned it in conversation to people, especially other Black people, because I understand the root of that mistrust (there’s a reason almost all of my doctors are Black) and I want to help dispel it.

      4. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        Me too. Once they see people getting the shot and being fine, we’re more likely to get more people taking the shot and things will get less terrible. I have to admit the huge amount of deaths kinda gets me down so I’d like that to stop

      5. Quill*

        This exactly! It’s telling that the people who have historically had the most to fear from being in the forefront of medical research in the US (Black, Native american, and Latine people, especially women) are so vocally for this vaccine and the people who have historically been in the least danger from being given a treatment that isn’t fully tested, or being given treatment without informed consent – middle class white people – are overwhelmingly the most vocal people in favor of not being “forced” to wear masks, social distance, or do any sort of pandemic risk reduction.

        1. Evan Þ.*

          I’m sorry to say that based on the polls I’ve seen, Black people in the US are much less interested in the vaccine.

          1. Homo neanderthalensis*

            Those polls were redone more recently and overwhelmingly show that with more people having received the shot and no reports of serious side effects- black and hispanic Americans now overwhelmingly want the shot. It’s white Republicans who are now and always were the top covid shot refusers- even with new info.

      6. Emma*

        It’s such a cruel double-whammy that people of colour are more likely to catch, be seriously ill with and die from Covid (due to factors like occupation), and have also been given such excellent reasons over very many years to not trust medical and scientific institutions.

      7. Regina Phalange*

        I came to say this! I’m white but I completely understand why people of color would be suspicious of this vaccine. I’m deeply grateful to BIPOC who are working to get their friends/family on board with vaccination, but I wish public health and medical professionals were doing more work to build trust with those populations. And that they works have done that before we were faced with a public health emergency.

    11. Pescadero*

      The most dangerous vaccine ever in widespread use, which would never get approved today, had a fatality rate of 0.0002%.

      2 in a million. ~650 dead if you vaccinated every single individual in the USA.

      That is significantly lower than a COVID infection even in young folks.

        1. Darlingpants*

          Maybe the polio vaccine that accidentally didn’t get fully inactivated? That’s definitely the worst (non-fabricated *ahem*) vaccine disasters I’ve ever heard of and I work in vaccine development.

          1. Metadata minion*

            The smallpox vaccine is also pretty non-benign — if I’m remembering correctly, something like 20% of people can’t safely receive it.

    12. Tired of Covid-and People*

      The short-term effects of no vaccination has been over a half a million dead in the US. Hope you stay masked up and away from people. Or are you hoping they all get vaccinated and get whatever effects their might be? Selfish and short-sighted.

    13. Here we go again*

      +1 I’ll be one of the last people to get it if I wanted it. And I’m not in a hurry just because no one knows what the effects are a year or two later.

    14. PspspspspspsKitty*

      I’m confused to what you expect to see. If you were going to have an allergic reaction to vaccines, you probably would have seen that in the past. If you were going to feel run down, you would have seen that in the past. Ill effects from the vaccine happen quickly. It’s not going to mutate someone into a zombie or cause cancer. It’s been studied long enough that if people had reactions to it, it would have shown up by now. With the FDA going through emergency approval, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t properly test it. It means they shut everything else down to focus on a Covid vaccine. They prioritize it. This kind of vaccine has been in the works for a long time before Covid happened. The vaccine simply needed to be adjusted to show that it can work against this particular strain of virus. The testing was to show that it would. If you are nervous about it, why aren’t you educating yourself about the vaccine itself? If you did you due diligence in looking up research, you would have learned all of this. I looked it up myself.

      I mean, you aren’t really relying on a new outlet to tell you if it’s good, right?

      1. OP*

        So based on what I’ve read – and I haven’t had a lot of time to research this for good reasons that I will not get into here – your prior experience with vaccines is not transferable to the approved vaccines in the U.S. because the approved vaccines in the U.S. – to simply things – work entirely differently than prior vaccines you’ve had. You may not have had an allergic reaction to a past vaccine but that has no bearing on how you will react to any of these. Maybe someone more knowledgeable can provide more insight on this.

    15. inksmith*

      So you don’t want to get it in case there’s long-term effects, but it’s fine for other people to test if it has long-term effects? And in the meantime, you’ll just be a risk factor for passing Covid to people who can’t get vaccinated?

  7. redheadedscientist*

    I’m wondering if it’s a uniquely US thing where someone’s religious right to refuse a vaccine trumps the safety of those around them. I’m not sure how common this is but I worry anti-vaxxers will take advantage of this exemption. Regardless, I support the right of employers to require vaccinations, especially if the job is in healthcare. I’m not working with patients directly but I work at a school of medicine and flu shots have always been required.

    1. Sleepless*

      They will. I spent an unfortunate amount of time in an evangelical community, and that was where I met my very first anti-vaxxers. They routinely got religious exemptions for vaccines, but the only religious objection they really seemed to have was “everybody at my church says vaccines are bad.”

      1. sunny-dee*

        Then you weren’t listening. Many vaccines are derived from aborted fetus cell lines.

        BTW, I have vaccinated my children, and am vaccinated myself. (For standard vaccinations, not covid, since we’re all very low risk.) But I understand the ethical and moral objections there, and it’s a bit unfair to characterize someone’s religious beliefs like that.

        1. redheadedscientist*

          For what it’s worth, neither the Pfizer or Moderna shots are grown in fetal cell lines, since they’re mRNA vaccines. Other vaccines are grown in HEK293T cells. These are derived from a fetus aborted in the 1970s (HEK stands for human embryonic kidney). This is a super common cell line in science labs–I’ve used it myself. The vaccines that people object to on these grounds don’t contain aborted fetal cells, as I’ve heard some people (not you, @sunny-dee) claim. Rather, these vaccines are grown up in cell lines that, yes, were obtained from an aborted fetus. I can completely understand the ethical objections there but luckily we have alternatives!

          1. AndersonDarling*

            I was just thinking about this the other day. The tissue derived from the 1970’s aborted fetuses are used in so many places that I was starting to think it was an urban myth. I honestly don’t know how the tissue can be reproduced so rapidly that it is still being used today.

            1. sunny-dee*

              These are essentially eternal cell lines. It’s kind of fascinating; there is some kind of mutation a very few people seem to have, and their cells just … keep reproducing. I read an article about a woman from the 1950s (I believe) who died of cancer, but her stem cells are still used for cultures today.

              1. PhysicsTeacher*

                Henrietta Lacks! The cell line from her sample is called the HeLa line and is the oldest human cell line. Before these cells, human cells in the lab would only last a few days. The origin of this one is also ethically dubious because she wasn’t given the chance to give informed consent.

              2. Quill*

                Oh, the HeLa line? That’s tangentially a huge digression in terms of medical ethics but yeah. Stem cell lines are both very individual and have very complex histories.

        2. BubbleTea*

          For clarity, this is NOT the case for the covid vaccines. No fetal cells, no animal products.

          1. RabbitRabbit*

            The J&J one was developed with fetal cells from that old 1970s line, but Pfizer/Moderna weren’t. Not sure about AZ/Oxford, or others.

          2. Maggie*

            Thats not entirely true. The JNJ does use fetal cell lines (from an old abortion from like 1980). And novavax which is still in trials is grown in moth eggs.

        3. Quill*

          by “aborted fetal cells” do you mean stem cells? Because iirc stem cell lines grown from fetal samples are not necessarily from fetuses that were aborted. The origin of the culture, and the source of the donor, are unclear for most of them.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            Also, “aborted” when used in medical terminology can mean naturally aborted as well as artificially. (What most would call a miscarriage.)

            1. Quill*

              Yes, my fuzzy recollection from class was that there were at least a few stem cell lines that came from fetuses that died of natural causes, i.e. miscarriages, and that at least one of those lines it was thought that the miscarriage was CAUSED by the abnormal stem cell growth.

              But I did not remember enough key words about the lines to google it quickly, just that when I had a class on this it was stressed that there were a lot of sources for today’s lines of stem cells.

          2. Microbiologist*

            There are actually several cell lines used in vaccine production that originated from elective abortions. PER.C6 is the one used for the Johnson & Johnson shot – it’s a retinal cell line originated from an electively-aborted fetus in the 1980s. All the other fetal cell lines used in vaccine production are fibroblasts and originated from elective abortions in the 1960s.

            1. Quill*

              Thanks, I was unable to quickly google which lines were which, and the two I remembered from class just said “donor details unknown”

        4. The Vulture*

          I don’t know, she was characterizing people’s religious beliefs that she has actually met and talked about this with and you have not, so it’s quite possible she has a way better handle on their objections, as much as YOURS or other people’s may have been about stem cells…which…whatever.

    2. A bit anon today*

      Religious freedom and personal liberty were a big part in the founding of the US and something that is still taught as something to be proud of. “Land of the Free” and all that (historical caveat that this really only applied to straight white men, but that’s another tangent)

      Fortunately the Pope and other religious leaders are publicly backing the vaccines and telling people that its ok to ignore the fetal cell origins of the J&J one. I think some religious leaders have hedged the message to take whatever comes first but if you get a choice get the mRNA version.

      There’s also a dichotomy in the US between “my body my choice” and government mandates that is not always consistent

      1. momofpeanut*

        Religious freedom for the founding of the US was about not being burned at the stake for being Protestant and not about making up the idea that if I dispense a prescription as written I am participating in sin.

        1. Littorally*

          It was mostly the Protestants being the aggressors, actually. Several of the original 13 states were founded as havens for religious minorities to get away from the Church of England.

          1. Quill*

            Quakers and pilgrims were both not fond of the Church of England, and they themselves didn’t necessarily get along, religiously.

        1. Aleecheemo*

          That is so reckless! Not to mention completely uninformed, that is nothing but scare-mongering.

          People “shopping” for their preferred vaccines is only going to slow down the mass immunization and meanwhile people will continue to get sick and die. I come from a very historically Catholic and traditional country (which has been proven to have a very problematic influence over the years but that’s another story), but I’d like to think our religious leaders would have more sense than this.

        2. Charlotte Lucas*

          My mom just got it, & she’s a devout Catholic. Also a firm believer in vaccines & public health initiatives.

        3. Evan Þ.*

          They said not to get it if you can choose another vaccine. If you can’t, they say, go ahead and get it.

        4. Wintermute*

          I know that the Pope has been reluctant to use the full power of his seat in doctrinal conflict but now that he’s given it the OK if there is no reasonable alternative, he should make local archdiocese capitulate in my opinion, it’s just too dangerous not to use his full authority.

    3. Tired of Covid-and People*

      So-called religious folks in the US, particularly the loud evangelical type, are anything but. They don’t care about their neighbors, the community, or humanity as a whole. Makes me sick.

    4. TiffIf*

      I don’t know how unique it is across the world, but there is variety even within the US.

      Most states allow both medical and religious exemptions to vaccinations (usually required vaccinations for school enrollment) some additionally allow an exemption for personal beliefs/philosophical objections;

      5 states allow ONLY medical exemptions–no religious or personal belief exemptions–California, Maine, Mississippi, New York and West Virginia.

        1. Working Rachel*

          I hesitate to contradict Alison, but my understanding is that in New York state, at least in schools, the state law on vaccines overrides the federal, and that unvaccinated students are now barred from school unless they have a medical exemption. This is based on an in-depth conversation I had with a school administrator in New York whose school had been affected by the change in law; I am not (and she is not) a lawyer.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            I can’t speak to the law on schools, but as far as employment law goes, states cannot remove protections that are granted at the federal level. Federal law requires employers to try to accommodate religious objections, barring undue hardship, and state law cannot override that. But schools and employers are different things and different laws.

            1. Self Employed*

              Are employers generally required to permit religious accommodations that create an unsafe working environment to other employees, though? Seems like “potential to spread serious disease” would be an undue hardship. Also “other employees are concerned about safety.”

              Also, when leaders of the major religions have stated they do NOT have an objection to vaccination, do employers have to accommodate “religious exemptions” for people who belong to faiths that say they don’t object?

            2. Boof*

              Well, I think states can trump federal law – kinda – depending on who wants to enforce it and how hard. Best example is medical marijuana – federally illegal, legal in many states, you can get busted by the feds but not by the state [and there’s at least a few cases of “civil forfeiture” over this] – very legal gray area.

        2. doreen*

          I don’t think states have to provide religious religious exemptions for students attending public schools – there’s a Supreme Court decision from 1944 that generally says that states have the authority to restrict parental authority by mandating school attendance , regulating child labor and specifically that ” Thus, he cannot claim freedom from compulsory vaccination for the child more than for himself on religious grounds.12 The right to practice religion freedly does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease or the latter to ill health or death”. It’s possible that religious exemptions might have to be provided to adults attending college, but kids are a different issue.

  8. Person from the Resume*

    I work for a federal government entity. They have said that they cannot require any employee to get the vaccine because it’s under a “emergency use authorization” [EUA].

    But an commercial employer is different. I support everyone getting the COVID-19 vaccine along with other vaccines. I support entities such as businesses requiring their employees and students being vaccinate for the good of their coworkers and classmates as long as there are allowances for people who medically cannot receive the vaccine or sincerely held religions belief. The country and this world needs herd immunity and that means everyone who can needs to be vaccinated.

    I am excited that I just became eligible for the vaccine in my state and will be vaccinated ASAP.

    1. iliketoknit*

      Yes, I’ve heard about people in the military refusing to get vaccinated because they can’t be required to (yet) since it’s under EUA, whereas normally the military can and does require you to get vaccinated for all sorts of things.

  9. Jake*

    I wish that it would become mandatory at my job. We had dozens of cases with a single hospitalization in a company with less than 100 people. I don’t trust my fellow workers to actually be safe. Our first case was a guy who wore a mask that says, “this mask doesn’t work.” He also blatantly bragged about not distancing or masking up when not at work. Every single person that has worked around him ended up testing positive.

    1. yup*

      It’s like smoking at work. If a person can get the job done without slowing the work down, how can a company ban smoking? Shouldn’t each person be able to decide what they put into their body?

      1. Jake*

        They absolutely should ban smoking if it can impact non-smokers.

        I agree that if a job can be done remotely, then they shouldn’t require a vaccine, however, the jobs I’m referring to cannot be done remotely, and they cannot be done while social distancing.

      2. AsterRoc*

        Smoking hurts the people around you. So does not vaccinating, or not masking, or not washing your hands after you use the bathroom.

        Yes each person should be able to decide what they put into their body. I don’t want to put smoke into my body. By smoking next to me at work, you are forcing me to put smoke into my body.

        1. yup*

          “Smoking hurts the people around you. So does not vaccinating, or not masking, or not washing your hands after you use the bathroom.”

          Ding ding ding – we have a winner.

          1. Tired of Covid-and People*

            Indoor smoking is often against the law in places other than private residences. Even smoking outside is banned in some places, think smoke-free campus. Thank goodness.

        2. Maggie*

          Ok but if every person has the right to determine what they put in their body, doesn’t that mean people should be allowed to not take the vaccine?

          1. Batgirl*

            You are aren’t you? So long as you don’t expect to be around coworkers. There’s a difference between “you have to” and “you have to if you want to come in the workplace”.

            1. Maggie*

              True, if they were offered remote work options and not penalized for it, I think that would be at least more fair

              1. David*

                If anything, the opposite. If you can work remote without affecting long-term performance, your employer doesn’t really have to account for your co-workers in all this.

                If you can’t, and I have to sit in the cubicle one over, I absolutely expect my employer to say “vaccinate or don’t return.”

          2. Amazed*

            In theory, sure, but let’s differentiate between people who take the pandemic seriously and people who don’t.

            Someone in the former camp, if they don’t want the vaccine, are going to be self-motivated to find alternate means to provide the same coverage, and it’s probably going to be excessive. Self-quarantine, excessive PPE, that sort of thing. They’re going to be at least a little bit paranoid of spreading it against their own will, and will be at least as worried about that happening as they are about protecting themselves from catching it. Anything less is frankly not taking the pandemic seriously enough.

            And all this is before we talk about how those around them are going to protect themselves.

      3. AnxietyRobot*

        While I am actually 100% pro-employee smoke breaks, I can say, back when I used to bartend, there were MANY times I considered taking up smoking just so I could also get a break to go outside occasionally. Obviously, the practical solution is to allow non-smokers periodic breaks as well, but in reality, I’ve never worked at a place that would agree to that. And honestly, if I hadn’t been with a partner who found smoking absolutely disgusting, there’s a good chance I would’ve caved in and taken it up. Beyond my own personal experience, I know it can also make things difficult for those with asthma, those who’ve quit who are struggling to avoid temptation, etc. My argument as applied to smoking is somewhat devil’s advocate, but applied to the vaccine, 100% sincere. As this pandemic has made abundantly clear, our own personal health decisions rarely effect just us.

        1. Tired of Covid-and People*

          Smoking is the nastiest habit and although I resented smokers getting unlimited breaks in the before times, I was so happy that stinky mess had to go outside.

        2. Filosofickle*

          I used to take smoke breaks with a coworker. I didn’t smoke but it was the only way I could get outside for 5 minutes.

      4. Anonandon*

        …companies can ban smoking on the premises because you can stop smoking for a time. You can’t turn off a vaccine and then turn it back on for work. These aren’t comparable. Companies can ban a lot of things — scented lotions, dogs, peanut butter — for a lot of reasons related to the business. Difference is, these are things that people can do in their own time. You can’t just have a vaccine in your own time. Don’t want to work where it is mandatory? Find a different job. Jobs are hard to find because of Covid? Get a vaccine so that Covid can be reduced.

        1. Sue*

          And for companies providing or subsidizing health insurance, the pressure to keep premiums down will drive vaccination requirements.

      5. iglwif*

        Companies can ban smoking *at work* because when you smoke a cigarette, everyone around you is breathing in that smoke. They can’t ban you from smoking *at all*.

        Requiring employees to be vaccinated (unless there’s a medical reason they can’t be) isn’t really like banning smoking at work, since you’re either vaccinated or not–there’s no way to be vaccinated at work but not at home–but the reasoning behind it is the same, because in both cases, what someone “puts into your body” (or doesn’t, in the case of the vaccine) has a direct effect on those around them, and that effect is harmful.

        1. Pescadero*

          “Companies can ban smoking *at work* because when you smoke a cigarette, everyone around you is breathing in that smoke. They can’t ban you from smoking *at all*.”

          Yes, they can.

          “Weyco began testing its 200 employees for smoking in January. And the company put workers on alert: In the future, they will be subject to random testing. If they fail, they will be fired.”

          “When U-Haul recently announced it will no longer hire people who use nicotine in any form in the 21 states where such hiring policies are legal, the Phoenix-based moving company joined a cadre of companies with nicotine-free hiring policies.”

          1. iglwif*

            Well, wow, now I want to research whether this is happening/legal here in Canada, too. I know a whole ton of stuff is acceptable in the US that isn’t here…

        2. Tired of Covid-and People*

          Smoking isn’t contagious though. Big difference. Life expectancy has actually gone down people. Covid has been devastating. This shouldn’t even be a discussion.

        3. AntsOnMyTable*

          I feel like I remember a previous article on here explained that in the US companies can even ban you from wearing a purple shirt on your day off. The at will employment is very heavily weighted one way.

      6. Esmeralda*

        Because smoke from cigarettes harms people who aren’t smoking. Secondhand smoke is a thing. A dangerous thing. Smoke if you want, but keep it the hell away from my lungs.

        1. Tired of Covid-and People*

          ITA, in the before times I would not visit certain friends because they smoked and I can’t breath in their home.

      7. Amtelope*

        They can ban smoking AT WORK, because the smoke harms other people. They should also ban coming to work if you refuse to get the coronavirus vaccine, because if you give the virus to other people, that harms them. I am against employers banning things that actually don’t harm other people, but being able to catch and transmit a communicable disease is not one of those things.

    2. Some dude*

      I have a friend who has colleagues who don’t want to get the vaccine. Never mind that several of his colleagues have gotten covid, and each time they’ve gotten it their work has shut down for a week and the employees were out for a month or two, and will likely have long term health issues. But still, they are sketched out about the vaccine or seeming weak by masking up.

    3. OP*

      I am really sorry to hear that. I’m fortunate that my coworkers are taking it seriously. This thread also made me wonder how much people’s opinions on the idea of a vaccine mandate are influenced by their personal experiences during the pandemic – if you’re more likely to be pro-mandate if you’re in an area that has had very high numbers of cases, for example, or if you’re more likely to be hesitant of a mandate vs. incentives if you’re in an area with lower numbers of cases or in a work environment where you feel confident that everyone is taking the pandemic seriously and doing their part or that is otherwise lower risk.

      1. sequined histories*

        I don’t doubt that seeing people around me die at a rapid clip in the spring has affected my outlook. I think a lot of people who haven’t had that experience still don’t fully grasp how dangerous—how devastating—this disease can be.

        But it’s also a bit baffling—I mean, when I saw what was happening in Italy, I already thought we were probably in for it. Now that the same thing happened in so many different places, I really don’t understand how people are able to minimize the potential danger in their minds.

  10. kt*

    Note that airline employees in some roles are also required certain types of vaccinations. For instance, yellow fever vaccines are required for pilots who fly to certain locations. For certain types of jobs it’s a reasonable requirement for doing the job.

    1. ivy*

      Yellow fever vaccines are required to enter a lot of countries – it’s the model people developing the requirements for covid vaccinations for travel are looking at…

  11. QED*

    Setting aside the legality, the one thing I’d be a bit concerned about depending on where you are and how the mandate is worded and enforced, is when you’re required to be vaccinated by and what are the consequences if you aren’t. I think every state still has restrictions on who can get the vaccine and we still have more demand than supply to meet it. So if your company is saying that everyone needs to get vaccinated right now so they can come into the office, and if they don’t they’re fired or have to take PTO until they get it, that would be just incredibly wrong even if it were legal. If you want to push back without seeming anti-vaccine, this might be a way to do it, by mentioning to your employer that vaccines are still scarce, and instead maybe they should make it easy for people at your company to get them as they become eligible and there’s availability. For example, give people time off to go get it, send around links to different appointment sites, etc. This is an approach many restaurants in my area have taken because they realize that a mandate at this point just isn’t feasible.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s very unlikely you’ll see mandates until the vaccine is more accessible (except possibly in fields that are by their nature already being vaccinated, like health care).

    2. Anne of Green Gables*

      Some folks will also have their eligibility determined by their job type. I’m in higher education; we became eligible last week in my state because of our employer/field. Most of the groups currently eligible in my state are depended on work because it’s all essential front-lines employees right now (plus over 65). So this is going to be largely field dependent.

    3. Antilles*

      I would assume the mandate would only go into effect when the vaccines are fully available. In my state, they don’t yet have enough vaccine even for people classified with “high risk” conditions; not a chance some healthy 20 or 30-something is skipping the line simply because “my company has mandated the vaccine”.

    4. TPS reporter*

      My company (healthcare) mandates the flu vaccine. But they give you 60 days to comply and seek exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

    5. OP*

      Such a great point. I am all for employers providing information to their employees on vaccine availability and accommodations for getting it. We are classified as essential workers. The definition of essential workers is quite gray. Some of the public facing workers in my area have been vaccinated while other classes of public facing workers are not yet eligible to get it. I don’t understand why my local government has put me ahead of these people. It’s something I’ve had to spend time thinking seriously about because of this mandate policy that I wouldn’t have had to think about if the mandate weren’t on the table right now – I would have just waited a little longer for those people to go first. I don’t feel good about going before them when my job can be done entirely remotely, but I didn’t make the rules and I don’t have the power to change them.

  12. QAChimp*

    Companies already dictate what people can and can’t do with their own bodies and health, mandatory drug tests being one example. Not that I agree with those, but employers are allowed to make rules (within legal non discriminatory boundaries) about what is required as an employee, and employees are allowed to choose if they want to work there based on those.

    1. Tired of Covid-and People*

      Well-said! Try telling an employer you don’t want to take their stupid drug test.

    2. Æthelflæd*

      I worry about using this as an example because there is genuine reason why drug testing is discriminatory and so forth. Anti-vaxxers being what they are, I could see them glomming onto this kind of argument and saying “well, see employers shouldn’t get to decide – just look at how they abuse drug tests!” and then it’s some kind of rallying cry.

      Can you tell I’m extra paranoid about people in America just not getting the vax and our country descending into the dark ages because we can’t climb out of this hell?

    3. OP*

      In my opinion, corporations have too much power over workers in the U.S. and it’s difficult to make good decisions from a place of fear.

      1. sequined histories*

        Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I agree that corporations have way too much power. But I think strengthening our rights to collective bargaining would address that problem a lot more effectively than resisting a vaccine mandate.

  13. Ali G*

    In the case of the OP, if their employer is going to require that employees return to in person work, then it makes sense that they want as many people as possible to get the vaccine. That is the best way to ensure the safety of all employees at work (as long as they respect any legally protected reason for those that can’t be vaccinated).
    We can argue about whether or not our jobs can be done from home, but if I knew I needed to eventually report to an office to keep my job, I would want as many co-workers as possible to be vaccinated.

    1. one more scientist*

      Yes, if you are forced to report to your job in-person, wouldn’t you feel so much better knowing all your coworkers are vaccinated?

      1. Louise*

        It is the only way I will return to in person. Those fools have not take. It seriously until someone ended up hospitalized but they tend to have short memories.

      2. GetVaccinatedPlease*

        Absolutely, especially since my coworkers don’t take the company mask policy seriously, and the company has decided there are no consequences for people who don’t comply. If they’re vaccinated then I will feel better about being around them, but if they refuse to wear masks AND don’t get vaccinated it’s going to be hard for me to get back to any sense of “normal”.

  14. Elliot*

    I honestly have no sympathy for people who don’t want the covid vaccine (of course this doesn’t apply to people who can’t get it for health reasons) or feel like requiring it is a “serious overstep.”

    I feel like people who refused to stay inside, haven’t taken the virus seriously, or chose to gather for holidays and other events, resulting in the deaths of so many health care and essential workers committed a much more serious oversite than a company hoping to prevent a deadly virus spreading in their offices.

    1. Alice in Blunderland*

      I couldn’t agree with you more. And I feel like those people (combined with the completely bumbling response from our federal government) are the reason that we’ve had to endure this for SO LONG.

    2. Ace in the Hole*

      I have sympathy for people who are afraid or mistrustful of the vaccine. There are plenty of people who have good reason to be mistrustful of the government and medical professionals, as well as people with anxiety or other less-rational but still genuine fears.

      While I sympathize with it, I don’t tolerate it. Every person who has the ability to get vaccinated has the duty to do so as quickly as possible. Failure to carry out that duty is absolutely unacceptable and, in my mind, makes you personally responsible for the deaths that result from prolonging the pandemic.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I can’t even muster sympathy for them at the moment. I lost three loved ones in 2020 and having to listen to people um and ah about receiving the vaccine makes every part of me furious. The selfishness with which some people (thankfully a minority) live their lives makes me want to scream.

      2. AnonForThis*

        I also understand fear and distrust of the vaccine. I think people’s questions and concerns, often, are good ones! And I say this as a fully vaccinated, trained cellular and molecular biologist, who runs clinical trials for a living.

        It’s ok to have questions about something new and unfamiliar! I just wish they would direct their questions and concerns to someone QUALIFIED to answer them, NOT your neighbor who saw a meme on Facebook. I am more than happy to address concerns about the vaccine, with compassion, and I will provide you with facts and empirical evidence.

        1. BothAnd*

          I would love a few sources to review if you could link here! This is such a beautiful reply.

    3. Courageous cat*

      Yep. No patience – I think it’s selfish. Your private health issues are your private health issues, but COVID Is Not Private. If you can kill someone with it, you probably *should* be made to feel bad if you refuse to do anything about it.

      1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        Add my vote to this. Please get vaccinated, people, as soon as it’s available to you.

  15. Alice in Blunderland*

    I work in the hospitality industry and I would really like to see it become mandatory for people in our field. Customers are rude and gross enough and have really showed us that they don’t give a flip about our lives, just as long as they get their food the way THEY want it. (Not all customers of course! Some people are so lovely. But a VERY vocal minority are not and it’s really made this year quite hellish!)

    I’ll never forget the weekend (almost exactly a year ago!) before mandatory shut downs, when everyone was talking about COVID and its implications. I worked an EXTREMELY busy brunch, filled with large parties of people who obviously felt that this was maybe the last time they could get together in large groups. (They were right.) I went up to a table where they were finishing a conversation about COVID, and a woman in the group blew her nose into a napkin and then held the dirty napkin out for me to take. With my bare hands, presumably.

    So yes, please let’s get us all vaccinated because that example is just the tip of the iceberg in the restaurant industry!

    1. Chilipepper*

      I so wish you could have called out, “snotty tissue protocol” and had fellow staff run over with gloves and a small trash bucket and collect the offending thing!

      I work with the public and yeah, we/they can be gross!

    2. The Meiji Restauration*

      have really showed us that they don’t give a flip about our lives, just as long as they get their food the way THEY want it.

      I’m sorry, but how does a customer asking for food the way they want it (the horror) jeopardize your life? Should I accept curbside pickup steak that is well-done even if I ordered it medium-rare?

      1. sequined histories*

        Well, I think the point is that getting someone’s order right is (barring allergies) NOT a matter of life and death, but exposure to coronavirus is? And that if feels pretty dehumanizing to serve people who are nit picky about their food but casual about possibly exposing you to a deadly plague?

      2. service workers are not a lower species*

        How does getting one’s food the way one wants it justify handing someone else a sneezed-in tissue to take in their bare hands?

  16. ShortListed*

    Some people will be on the lists *from the vaccine makers* with conditions and past adverse reactions that make the current vaccines inappropriate, medically. When the vaccine maker says, “Hey, if you have had X, Y, Z, then our product is not safe for you”–and I’m in that population–I’m inclined to see mandatory shots as a direct attempt on my life and health.

    Vaccines are not magical potions that impart perfect health.

    There is no substance or concoction on this planet that is safe for every human, all the time. Vaccines are no exception.

    I’m encouraged that manufacturers are being so open about who should not get their vaccines, and that they seem to be doing far more research into WHY some people have contraindicating adverse reactions. This pandemic has the potential to expand research tremendously, and improve the safety and efficacy of all vaccines for all people.

    But, the science is not there just yet, and people making medical treatments mandatory is a sort of anti-science magical thinking I just cannot support, and I’d question the ethics of an employer who did.

    1. AnotherTeacher*

      From everything I’ve seen, mandatory vaccine requirements specifically exclude people contraindicated for that vaccine — the ones that exist now in schools, for example, have health and religious exemptions (as Alison notes above.)

      And of course, the more people who get the vaccine, the better it is for people who can’t get it for health reasons!

      1. Annika*

        Yes, my friend’s son could not get vaccinated because of being treated for leukemia. There was no issue with his school. My friend was angry with antivaxxers precisely because her son couldn’t be vaccinated. The chemo made him very susceptible to the very things that vaccines protect against.

    2. automaticdoor*

      Some people will be on the lists *from the vaccine makers* with conditions and past adverse reactions that make the current vaccines inappropriate, medically. When the vaccine maker says, “Hey, if you have had X, Y, Z, then our product is not safe for you”–and I’m in that population–I’m inclined to see mandatory shots as a direct attempt on my life and health.

      I believe that would definitely be an ADA exception, and I don’t think anyone is personally targeting you…?

        1. AntsOnMyTable*

          Yah, the “even vaccine makers say I shouldn’t get this shot” is usually accepted as a valid reason not to get the shot. I think it is so universally accepted that I would need actually evidence of companies saying “get it anyways” before I believe it. A person might still have to do something like wear a mask as a result but, GOP beliefs aside, that isn’t actually an assault on someone’s life.

    3. HelloHello*

      I highly doubt vaccine mandates at workplaces will not include exceptions for medical contraindications, as that would (as Alison said) be a violation of ADA rules. Vaccines aren’t magic, but they are the difference between millions of people dying vs. not dying. The science absolutely is there already, also. We have extraordinary amounts of research into vaccines as a whole, and the COVID vaccines are based on decades of research plus an unprecedentedly thorough level of testing given the resources made available for development and the much larger than normal test population available. There have been few vaccines that were more thoroughly tested before now, just by virtue of so many people being able to join the test groups. There also has never been a vaccine that had long term consequences that didn’t appear within the first few months post vaccine. We’ve passed that time period already with the COVID vaccine tests, so the likelihood of adverse reactions appearing years down the line is extremely slim and would be a significant change from basically every other vaccine ever developed.

    4. Purely Allegorical*

      “I’m inclined to see mandatory shots as a direct attempt on my life and health.”

      That’s a little dramatic. Obviously an employer’s vaccine regimen would make accommodations for the groups of people who are medically not allowed to take it.

      The other thing is — the more people who take a vaccine, the closer we are to herd immunity. And herd immunity is what will protect the folks unable to vaccinate from contracting the virus.

    5. Champagne Cocktail*

      I hope nobody’s tried to force you to get the vaccine when your medical history contraindicates it.

    6. Mike S.*

      When I got my first shot, they displayed a list of conditions that would make taking the vaccine risky, and asked about them, before I was able to get my shot.
      I’ve got a Facebook friend who can’t get intramuscular shots. Theoretically, they can get the vaccine subdermally, but there’s no research on its effectiveness yet when administered that way.

    7. RabbitRabbit*

      Once vaccines are more easily available, you’ll have at least two types to choose from (mRNA of Pfizer/Moderna, vs. inactivated adenovirus of J&J, at least in the US), making the chance that you are personally affected by all available types to be extremely unlikely.

    8. Quill*

      A legal and enforceable (and ethical!) vaccine mandate is one that knows there are medical exceptions and explicitly provides for them.

      When I entered college, there was a slate of vaccines that were required prior to living in the dorms, and a separate piece of paperwork for your doctor to sign if you were not medically capable of recieving one or more of the vaccines. There’s no reason to assume that we’re going to see any significant variation from this model because there are PLENTY of workplaces that already have similar vaccine requirements on file, and anyone drawing up a new requirement would have those as examples.

    9. Jerry Larry Terry Gary*

      I’ve never seen a mandatory vaccine policy that didn’t have medical exceptions. Vaccinating to herd immunity protects people like you. I’m surprised you view it as a threat.

    10. Bee*

      In fact, a vaccine mandate that includes exemptions for people who can’t get it will PROTECT you, because everyone around you will be vaccinated and thus not spread covid to you. The more people who get it, the more protection exists for the people who can’t. Herd immunity, baby!

    11. Foreign Octopus*

      No one expects vaccines to impart perfect health. What we expect them to do is to protect us as best they can and for as many people to get them so that people like you who can’t receive them are also protected. Drop the hyperbole with “a direct attempt on my life and health” and realise that we are in a global health crisis and, surprisingly, not everything’s about you.

    12. D3*

      Don’t play victim here. Medical exemptions have always existed, just for people like you, in every mandatory vaccine policy. No one’s making “a direct attempt on my life and health.”
      You need to stop and take a breath before you spout off that people are out to get you.

    13. STEMprof*

      As others have said, vaccine mandates include medical exemptions. Mandates also help protect those with medical exemptions. If you can’t get vaccinated, but everyone around you is vaxxed because of a mandate, their vaccines are protecting *you*

  17. Quickbeam*

    My husband works in a correctional facility. 3 staff memebers died from Covid and it was traced to a kitchen worker who came in from the community. No one thought that the kitchen workers would interact with the staff/inmates enough to worry about.

    Please consider vaccination.

  18. Batz Maru*

    I suspect we will be seeing this more and more, and I’m 100% behind it. I don’t want to go back to an office where people aren’t vaccinated unless they have a medical reason not to be.

    I think we’ll be seeing a push for this in the travel industry too. I’d be much more likely to get back on a plane if I know a vaccination is required.

    1. Jamie Starr*

      But how will you know that without knowing things about your co-workers’ health? If you find out Wakeen isn’t vaccinated you want to know it’s because he has a medical reason? Perhaps Wakeen doesn’t want people to know he hasn’t been vaccinated because they will think differently of him or he’ll have to disclose he has a medical reason not to. It’s really not a co-worker’s business the reason why someone doesn’t get vaccinated.

      1. twocents*

        Wakeen doesn’t have to tell his coworkers. Like other accommodations, he can provide HR a doctor’s note that advises that Wakeen medically should not be vaccinated and get the accommodation the same way he doesn’t need to disclose, IDK, a joint problem to his coworkers in order for HR to give him an ergonomic chair. Because of the requirement, his coworkers can feel secure working somewhere knowing that everyone who is medically able to be vaccinated has been.

      2. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

        Wakeen doesn’t have to tell his coworkers. Why are you arguing against a scenario no one is suggesting?

      3. Antilles*

        I would expect that companies requiring vaccines would do it through paperwork to HR with files that remain confidential. The same way that companies handle drug testing or annual physical tests or medical accommodations.
        If your company/HR/boss is broadcasting to the world who is or isn’t vaccinated, they’re sucky jerks and were probably sucky jerks long before any of us had even heard the word Covid.

      4. Batz Maru*

        I think a note from a doctor would suffice saying there is a medical reason. That leaves the decision to Wakeen whether to disclose more details. I don’t need to know everyone’s medical history.

        Yet, I would say it is the co-worker’s business if someone isn’t vaccinated. If Alex has no medical reason not to get a vaccine but their sincerely held belief says not to, I want to know this. This tells me that Alex thinks their right to infect me is more important to them than public health and I know to avoid them in person and look for someplace else to work because my safety could be at risk.

      5. Quill*

        You won’t. Someone in HR will process their intake paperwork and say “Wakeen Warblesworth – approved for re-entry into building” and not a single person outside of them and a computer will know if it was because he sat beside me today to get stabbed in the arm, or if he’s allergic to polyethylene glycol and got a medical exception.

        Just like when every single one of your teachers growing up had to get a tuberculosis screening, not a single one of their coworkers knew if they’d passed because they tested negative for tuberculosis exposure, they’d been false-positived and it had been proven that the test was turning up a completely different infection, or if they’d had to go to a doctor and prove that when they’d had tuberculosis in the past it had been successfully treated and the antibodies were still in their blood.

        1. momofpeanut*

          Except if Wakeen has a medical exemption the company may require him to mask up and social distance and they would be within their rights to do so. The ADA doesn’t mean you get necessarily get your choice about how the employer accommodates the disability, just that it is reasonable.

          1. Quill*

            Yup, Wakeen wearing a mask is a totally reasonable solution here! The action is supposed to accomodate minimizing the risk, not inform everyone and their dog that Wakeen is allergic to polyethylene glycol, as opposed to eggs or penecillin.

            1. OP*

              And then it is possible that this would out him as not having gotten the vaccine. Also, not all companies have HR, and as we have learned on this site, some HR are terrible.

              1. Jerusha*

                That may be true. But while HR has a duty of confidentiality, that duty is not absolute. The standard is that reasonable accommodations must be made, but an accommodation may be reasonable without being imperceptible to other employees. If there’s a choice between two equally effective accommodations, one of which will be conspicuous and the other inapparent, then confidentiality concerns may incline towards the inapparent one, even if it’s more expensive. But if the choice is between “we accommodate Wakeen’s medical condition [that prevents him from receiving the vaccine] by requiring him to mask up and keep his distance” and “we accommodate Wakeen’s medical condition by just saying, ‘OK, never mind the vaccine, then’ [putting everyone around him at risk]”, the second may be inapparent, but it’s also not reasonable.

      6. Foreign Octopus*

        If someone’s not vaccinated for non-medical reasons, I will absolutely think differently of them as they are taking a huge gamble with the health and lives of people around them. We live in a society of people and that comes with the responsibility to care for one another. I get vaccinated so that someone who can’t get vaccinated is protected as well. Those who actively choose not to get vaccinated are placing their beliefs higher than the health and life of another person and if that doesn’t ask for judgement then I honestly don’t know what does.

  19. america heck yeah*

    Your employer requiring vaccinations is in no way an infringement on personal liberties. You are perfectly at liberty to seek other employment.

    That’s the free market at work. What, you don’t like freedom?

    (Yes, if you are medically ineligible according the FDA, that’s different.)

    1. Æthelflæd*

      I just took a screenshot of this and will be sending it to tons of people in coming months, I think. Love it.

  20. WendyRoo*

    Do whatever you want with your own body, but that doesn’t give you the right to put other people at risk.

  21. Magenta Sky*

    “As with most things, in order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) employers have to make exceptions for disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs.”

    I’m being pedantic here, but does federal law really classify religious belief as a disability? Cuz that’s what that sentence seems to be saying.

    1. WendyRoo*

      I don’t think the ADA covers religious discrimination at all, I think she was referring to the Civil Rights Act..

      1. Magenta Sky*

        There are far less amusing omissions that could have been made. And with a subject like this, a little amusement from time to time is necessary.

  22. DeeBeeDubz*

    Eh, I’m with the company on this one. Everyone should be vaccinated and if you tie it to people’s ability to work, they’re more likely to do it. Now, that’s not ideal. I don’t think it should be left to businesses to compel their employees to get their vaccinations. Ideally it would be mandated in addition to revamping education in this country so we don’t have sizable minorities vocally opposing perfectly safe injections on the basis of junk science.

    1. automaticdoor*

      YEP on that last part. I need to do some research, because I don’t remember people being so oddly anti-vax in general when I was younger. It seems like that has all emerged in the last 10-15 years? Which ties to the decline of science education and critical thinking skills and the rise of social media, I think.

      1. automaticdoor*

        And by “people,” I mean so MANY people. Obviously there have always been outliers.

      2. Student Affairs Sally*

        The (completely fabricated) “study” that “found” a link between vaccines and autism was originally publised in 1998, and the rhetoric really started taking off about 10 years later when B-list celebrity Jenny McCarthy started very vocally and publicly claiming that vaccines had given her son autism.

        1. Quill*

          Yup, it picked up steam in the early 00’s. It wasn’t much a thing for people around my age, but I’d heard about it by high school in the late 00’s and my high school freshman bio teacher had an entire campaign against it in her syllabus.

          She used to wave around her polio-withered arm shouting THIS IS WHY YOU GET VACCINES! at fourteen year olds who towered over her at every opportunity, I think fear of her scared a huge chunk of my hometown into getting all their shots.

        2. Magenta Sky*

          Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license over that fabricated study. According to the ruling in the libel case Wakefield filed against Channel 4, Wakefield was paid over £400,000 by lawyers wanting to sue the manufacturers of MMR vaccines to conduct the study specifically for purposes of discrediting MMR vaccines, because he had a financial interest in a patent for an alternate (and more expensive) vaccine technology.

          That is the original of the anti-vaxx movement as it exists today: deliberate fraud.

          1. Doc in a Box*

            Ironically, a big chunk of the anti-vaxx movement among white upper middle class Americans involves accusing doctors of colluding with pharma to defraud the public.

          2. Keymaster of Gozer*

            Andrew Wakefield and his ‘vaccines cause autism’ BS have caused probably millions of needless deaths. In my eyes he’s a criminal.

        3. EchoGirl*

          The most bizarre part of the whole thing is, the *last* thing that the doctor who did that “study” wanted was for people to stop vaccinating altogether. He was a vaccine researcher who had developed a vaccine but couldn’t get any traction on distributing it because there was already another vaccine that was dominating that portion of the market, so he faked a study to tarnish that specific vaccine so that people would use his vaccine instead. The full-blown anti-vax mentality was completely contrary to what he was trying to accomplish.

      3. BubbleTea*

        I’m 30, and I missed a lot of childhood vaccinations because my dad was anti-vax at the time. It predated the nonsense autism-vaccine lies in 1998 but was based on the same false beliefs. I had to have a LOT of vaccines when I was 18 and wanted to visit the USA.

      4. meyer lemon*

        Science misinformation is generally on the rise, and has its roots in tobacco lobbying, far-right propaganda sowing distrust in science and media, and the internet’s flattening effect on information.

        1. UKDancer*

          I think it also has to do with the fact people don’t see the diseases we have vaccines for. One of my mother’s cousins had polio as a child and it left her needing to use a wheelchair. She was really scared growing up that she might catch it as well. Two children in her school died of measles. Having seen this my mother vaccinated me against everything she could because she saw the consequences of not vaccinating firsthand.

          People don’t see the effects of polio and measles and scarlet fever nowadays so they’ve forgotten how bad it was and how necessary vaccines are.

          1. Jackalope*

            I have an older family member who tends to be on the Conservative side and undoubtedly runs with an anti-vax crowd at times. Despite that he is PROFOUNDLY pro-vaccines, to the point of asking me anxiously every time the COVID vaccine comes up if I’ll get my shot and proudly proclaiming that he’s gotten his on the internet and far & wide. The fact that every time we talk about it he brings up a *different* story about someone he knew growing up who got polio (all different people, not just different stories) is probably why.

          2. Self Employed*

            My mother survived polio and the “childhood diseases” but not all her classmates did. And although she didn’t have obvious disability from polio, post-polio syndrome caught up with her in her later years. She was very happy to get me vaccinated!

            I have met at least one person from that generation and is still alive who is in a wheelchair from polio.

            Lots of the people involved in ADAPT and the passage of the ADA were polio survivors. (I’m not clear who’s still alive and who isn’t and am too tired to look it up when the names probably wouldn’t be familiar to folks here anyway.)

            But most people these days (except immigrants from countries that haven’t eradicated these diseases) simply have no idea how bad the old days were. It frustrates me that there are people capitalizing on this lack of first-hand knowledge to minimize the dangers of the diseases compared to the vaccines.

          3. Third or Nothing!*

            I think you’re absolutely right! I hear the anti-vax people I encounter say things like “measles isn’t even that big a deal, you might as well just get it and get it over with.” Sure, for *some* people it’s not a big deal, but others lose fertility (among other life changing side effects). Ironically the people who don’t want to vaccinate their kids against stuff like measles are the kind of people most likely to harp on their adult children about giving them grandchildren.

      5. Wombats and Tequila*

        In the early 2000s, Nigeria had the second highest case rate of polio in the world. A WHO-led campaign to eradicate polio by vaccinating widely was crippled by religious leaders in the north claiming that the vaccine contained HIV and anti-fertility agents and that the whole thing was a cover for sterilizing youth and stripping away their manhood. Many children died or were disabled because of them.

        Fast forward to this year. A friend dropped that she wasn’t going to get vaccinated because she had heard that the vaccines sterilize people. Somehow, this lie survive for 17 years and managed to migrate to a completely culture, hemisphere, and disease.

  23. Penelope Toodlesworth*

    I wish my employer, a public school district, would require it. Too many idiotic anti-vaxxers here.

    We’re required to have a TB test before we start, and kids are supposed to have vaccinations up to date, so how is that different from getting a vaccine in the middle of an incredibly deadly pandemic?

    1. PhysicsTeacher*

      Same here.

      When we had the mumps going around at one of our schools a few years ago, we (teachers) even had to bring in proof we had our MMR vaccines.

    2. Batgirl*

      I’m a teacher and I simply can’t imagine not getting the vaccine. I seriously doubt it’ll be a choice and that’s fine. I’m healthy enough to, and not only am I scared of Covid, I can’t imagine the guilt of passing it to a student and their family. It’s probably relevant that we really can’t continue trying to teach from home.

      1. Flower necklace*

        I’m a teacher, too, and I feel the same way. I jumped at my chance to get the vaccine. I rescheduled once due to weather, and so I was one of the last people in my department to get it. Everybody got it as soon as they possibly could.

    3. Elizabeth McDonald*

      One of the teachers at my kid’s preschool is “waiting for a while” to get the vaccine though teachers are now eligible. I’m pretty sure it’s not a teacher working with my kid, but I’m still sad and worried about it. Most of the teachers at the school are women of color and I know that communities of color have very valid reasons to be skeptical of a medical system that has treated them VERY badly, but I really, really wish that everyone would get the vaccine.

  24. J.E.*

    I think profits could eventually make some private sector employers require vaccines. For example, say there is an airline that requires passengers to show proof of vaccination in order to board the plane to fly anywhere domestic or international and other airlines don’t have that requirement. If the airline that requires proof of vaccination sees a big influx in profit because people feel safer flying that airline over others, then the other airlines would probably implement a proof of vaccination policy so they don’t lose profits. Not just for airlines, but other industries could feel the need to require vaccines if customers/clients feel safer giving their business to companies with a vaccine requirement.

  25. Brett*

    An interesting discussion we have had in our workplace is the possibility that our employer will require a specific vaccine for full time return to work.
    What makes this more interesting is that the specific vaccine is one that is only available in Europe (so no North America employees could return to work).
    The employer of a friend in education has already suggested to employees that they get both the J&J vaccine and one or both of the current mRNA vaccines.

    So, I am wondering if employers could go farther than this and require employees to get a _specific_ vaccine or get multiple COVID vaccines in order to continue employment? (Especially if one or more of the vaccines are not readily available in an area.)

    1. Quill*

      Legally? Unlikely.

      What’s more likely is that someone would write the policy to determine between “you can come back if you’ve had both doses of Pfizer, but our government hasn’t approved Johnson’s effectiveness so none of you J&J people are back in office,” and not consider people outisde of the site that is having that confusion, leading in the short term to more confusion but definitely not creating a system where when you switch jobs you have to get re-vaccinated with new company’s preferred brand.

    2. WendyRoo*

      I don’t know how employers could reasonably do this, unless they provide a specific vaccine directly to employees themselves. If my employer set up an on-site clinic, I’d happily take whatever they offered. But at this point it’s not like anyone has the luxury of being picky.

      1. Quill*

        Caveat, I work in a company that is in the medical industry, but they’ve been having us set appointments to get vaccinated on work time, in the building, in a rota based on our previous social distancing and capacity guidelines. I got my second stab today, so far the main side effect is relief so strong it’s interfering with me finishing my paperwork.

      2. Brett*

        The reason our particular company might require a specific vaccine is exactly because they would be providing the vaccine (potentially precluding employees from getting a vaccination from anywhere other than the company).

        1. Doing the best we can*

          So they would require you to travel overseas to get the vaccine? Then sure they could require that.

          Federal law would prevent them importing a non-licensed/EUA vaccine in to the US.

          1. Brett*

            No travel. North American employees would just not be allowed to return to work in the office, since only employees in Europe could get the vaccine. (And presumably the vaccine would eventually be available in the US anyway, just months after it was available in Europe.)

            1. OP*

              Interesting, thank you for sharing your situation. In my case, because I am qualified under essential worker status and it isn’t available to me right now otherwise as a member of the general public, I have to go through a specific provider. It would have been nice to be able to get it through my primary care physician or a provider of my choice.

    3. Old and Don’t Care*

      Suggesting that people get J&J and one or both (or both?!?) is irresponsible, to put it mildly.

  26. Cat*

    Personally, I’d love to see my company make this a requirement!

    Instead, while we’ve been free to WFH for the last year (and only ~40% of the staff was fully office based to begin with) many people have been voluntarily going into the office “just because” the entire time, with no masks at any point over the last 12 months. A few co-workers keep asking when the rest of the us are going to join them and cram into the 8×10 conference room for our departmental meeting.

    1. ALM2019*

      This is my biggest fear with returning to the office. We’re still WFH and my company has been great about it but I have coworkers who cannot wait to all be in a conference room together. I have no faith in them taking this seriously based on pre pandemic behavior.

  27. twocents*

    Unless your doctor has advised that you medically should not get vaccinated, then insisting on remaining a public health risk makes you antivax.

  28. Anonymous me*

    In this instance, would ADA apply as well for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding?

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      Unlikely. The vaccine consent forms say to consult with your doctor, but the majority of physicians I’ve been seeing feedback from are heavily promoting that pregnant/breastfeeding women obtain vaccination to protect their and their baby’s health.

    2. automaticdoor*

      That is a really interesting question. I’d love to hear actual lawyers’ thoughts on it. (Went to law school but am not barred.)

      JAN has some info on pregnancy in general as a disability (pregnancy is covered under a different act, the PDA; pregnancy-related disabling conditions are covered under the ADA):

      I’m not sure if the PDA would cover this situation. For the record, ACOG/SMFM both say it should be up to the pregnant woman but that having COVID bears more risk than the vaccine does.

    3. automaticdoor*

      I have a reply pending with links, but spoiler alert, I am truly not sure (I’m not barred but I do work in the regulatory space).

    4. Carol*

      Current guidance is that pregnant people should be offered the choice to take the vaccine, particularly if they have a high exposure risk, but educated about the lack of data. It is not explicitly recommended.

      Because of the lack of testing/evidence for pregnant people, this would probably fall under medical exemption for the time being.

      1. fhqwhgads*

        Yeah, especially since at this point it’s also not contraindicated. There are several studies underway though, started a month ago. So once those get through peer review we’ll have a better sense.

  29. sofar*

    If a company is going to require it, I would hope they’d either find a way to do it on site OR give employees paid time off to get the vaccine (both doses), as well as a day off after each dose. I had some serious side effects to my second dose that would have made me going into an office verrrrrry unpleasant for my coworkers, and also I just felt like hell.

    Not having to burn a vacation or sick day on the vaccine would make required vaccination an easier pill to swallow for workers.

    1. kittymommy*

      This is a good thought. I ended up with pretty bad side effects (for me) with the first dose. I had gotten it after work on a Friday on a three day weekend, so no missed time, but for the second dose I left work early and honestly thought I was going to have to call in the following Monday.

    2. Nicki Name*

      Yes, this! I’m planning to schedule a tentative PTO day for after my vaccine appointment, whenever it turns out to be, both times if I’m getting a 2-dose vaccine. I’m comfortable doing this because my company is generous and flexible about PTO. Everyone should be able to feel this comfortable about it.

    3. HS Teacher*

      This is a great point. I waited 3 hours for my first vaccine. They streamlined the process, and my second one only took about 20 minutes start to finish. If I hadn’t had a supportive boss, I would have had to use PTO. People who don’t have PTO would really be at a disadvantage.

    4. Anononon*

      My mom’s work (an employer with a couple hundred thousand employees) recently announced that they’re giving paid time off to hourly workers for vaccine appointments. I think it’s only up to four hours, and I’m not sure what happens if there are side effects the next day, but it’s a good step.

    5. JF*

      Yes! I won’t be eligible for awhile, but everyone I know who has gotten it has needed that day off the next day, especially after dose 2, and if it’s a requirement, that shouldn’t burn people’s PTO.

      1. OP*

        Some people experience worse side effects with dose 2 and women and younger people have been shown to be more affected by side effects. It definitely would be nice to have this kind of accommodation in place for those that experience side effects.

    6. Alldogsarepuppies*

      My company allows us to record time getting vaccinated as time worked. Would probably have to use a sick day if i need the day after off, but I had mild enough reaction to dose one it wasn’t a problem.

      1. OP*

        This is a great example of a way to incentivize getting the vaccine that I wish my company would have implemented.

    7. Aggretsuko*

      I get an hour PTO for each shot day. I’m not sure how actual illness from the shot is going to go, though.

    8. Elizabeth McDonald*

      My kid’s preschool realized that most of the teachers were getting their second doses the same day, a Sunday. So they rearranged the school schedule and swapped a planned Wednesday off (for Cesar Chavez Day) with the Monday after their vaccines so the school will just be closed.

      1. Elizabeth McDonald*

        And HR at my school initially said “We expect you to try to get vaccinated on weekends or after school” but when we actually became eligible and they realized that getting an appointment was like trying to get hot concert tickets, they changed it to “Make sure you tell your division director if you’ll need coverage.”

  30. Phony Genius*

    I think some companies are using an incentive system instead. Such as an extra vacation day or a small cash bonus for getting vaccinated. (I don’t know how fair that is to the small number of people who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons.)

    It will be interesting to see whether positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement is more effective for this.

    1. Dasein9*

      Given how many of us react to vaccines, that extra “vacation” day would likely be no treat, but a welcome non-depletion of PTO!

    2. Cricket*

      My employer (a manufacturing company) is giving a $100 bonus to everyone who gets vaccinated.

      It would be great to have some PTO perks too! I know the production employees (the ones who are most at risk!) have more restrictions on their time off than us office folk.

  31. Works in IT*

    When the smallpox vaccination campaign was being conducted, countries literally had their police forces forcibly vaccinate people. Public health comes before the individual’s right to endanger others.

    1. Quill*

      Yeah. We want to stay away from that extreme (if for no reason other than that public health NEEDS to be conducted systematically by trained people, not by police officers armed with little needles) but we absolutely can make policies saying that you can either get a vaccine, file paperwork about why you medically can’t, or not work here.

  32. Jerry Larry Terry Gary*

    I’ve never seen a mandatory vaccine policy that didn’t have medical exceptions. Vaccinating to herd immunity protects people like you. I’m surprised you view it as a threat.

  33. had it*

    I wonder how they will handle people with the antibodies? My husband and I had it – still have NO IDEA how we got it as my husband is retired, we mask up, and don’t go anywhere – no out to eat etc and get groceries delivered to the porch. Our Dr is telling us NOT to get the vaccine at this point because we had covid – I don’t think my company will require the vaccine but we are in the travel industry and its my belief that eventually you may need proof to fly. BTW my company has done a great job with all of us – remote work everywhere we can and promoting safe work where we can’t – our % that have had covid per number of employees (90% of which are front liners) is way below average and we’ve had no hospitalizations.

    1. WendyRoo*

      From the CDC’s website:
      Q: If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

      A: Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

      If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

      Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

    2. WendyRoo*

      From the CDC’s website:

      Q. If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

      A. Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

      If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

      Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

    3. WendyRoo*

      The CDC answers this on their website, copied and pasted:

      Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

      If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

      Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

    4. Doc in a Box*

      We don’t know how long the antibodies will last. I believe they recommend you wait at least 90 days from when you had it (based on the trials we know they last at least that long) but to otherwise go ahead and get the vaccine.

      FWIW, I had minimally symptomatic covid in March 2020, got vaccinated in December/January 2021. Moderate achiness after dose 1, felt flattened by a steamroller after dose 2.

      Nearly everyone I know in healthcare who had documented covid had worse side effects from the vaccine than those who did not get the disease itself — but all of us are grateful to have the vaccine, and knock wood, in our 50k-employee health system, there have been no instances of vaccinated people getting sick or transmitting to others, despite ongoing widespread community transmission among unvaccinated folks. I hope the rest can get it soon!

    5. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Yes, you should get the vaccine even if you’ve previously contracted Covid.

      Reasons: we believe the vaccine will give you a better chance against the new strains, and there’s no proof that having survived Covid your immunity will last at all (it might be like measles which wipes all your immune system’s memory).

  34. Always Learning*

    I don’t agree with the statement that you must get the vaccine, because unvaccinated people put the rest of their coworkers at risk. Vaccinated people can still transmit the virus, the same as unvaccinated – the vaccine helps you if *you* contract the virus, but doesn’t stop you from giving it to others. It just makes it (ideally) less deadly for you. So, for employers to mandate the vaccine seems more a protection against them having a potential severe outbreak with lots of employees out sick or worse.

    1. Bee*

      That’s not true. More and more evidence is being found to demonstrate that vaccinated people DO NOT transmit the virus, or if/when they do it’s at infinitesimal levels compared to infected unvaccinated people. The reason they kept talking about “you can still transmit it” is because they didn’t have the evidence yet and didn’t know for sure. (And when community transmission is this high, it’s still a good idea to have everyone wearing masks in public regardless!) Honestly I think the messaging went way too far in the other direction, because now people think the vaccine is a minor deal, when in fact it’s a medical miracle. Fortunately, the CDC at least is starting to change their tune!

      1. GS*

        In BC, Canada, there was an outbreak at a care home among vaccinated folks transmitting to vaccinated folks. They expect the outcomes to be better, and the transmissibility was lower. It’s worth looking up if you’re curious, I think “cottonwood Kelowna outbreak” should get it.

        1. Doc in a Box*

          I hope they do ok with it. Certainly seems to be less explosive than the typical nursing home outbreak from a year ago, where it just ran through those places like wildfire. From what I can see, it sounds like some people who tested positive did have both doses of vaccine but were still within the 2-3 week window before they are fully protected.

    2. Microbiologist*

      Not quite. The vaccines have been shown to be effective at preventing infection. The trials didn’t have enough data to definitively say that the vaccines reduce transmission, but as time goes on and more data is gathered, the evidence is increasingly showing that they are effective at reducing transmission. Which is what we expect: you can’t pass on Covid if you’re not infected, and you’re less likely to pass it on if you have a truly asymptotic case.

    3. STEMprof*

      This is absolutely not true. The communication has been really confusing on this, but what they were saying earlier is that we didn’t know *how much* protection against infection/transmission the vaccine provides, or whether the vaccine provides sterilizing immunity (protection against any infection). We are now getting data on this, and the effectiveness against infection seems to be really good, although not 100% (few vaccines are)

    4. we're basically gods*

      The thing is, the virus can’t live without hosts. That’s how we’ve eradicated some of the illnesses that we have vaccines for entirely; by reaching true herd immunity, we can literally create an environment where COVID can no longer live at all.

      1. OP*

        It is my understanding that we would have to reach herd immunity globally to achieve eradication.

        1. Metadata minion*

          Yes, you’d need global herd immunity and there would also need to be no animal host that it could survive in.

          1. sequined histories*

            Containing it as much as possible is still worthwhile, though. I mean, Ebola is obviously lurking somewhere in the ecosystem. But nobody thinks it would be good idea to just let it rip through human populations because we can currently eradicate it.

            Obviously, COVID is totally out of control now and will be much more difficult to beat back and contain. But out ultimate goal should be to contain it as much as possible, and worldwide vaccination campaigns are the only way to do that.

  35. Bookworm*

    The problem is that there is still a risk of being an asymptomatic carrier (and even getting vaccinated is not a 100% that you won’t get it–although it seems it does help with severity if you do). There is still SO much we still don’t know about COVID.

    It is not just about you. *Especially* if your org is resisting telecommuting despite having proof otherwise. I’m sympathetic on that (similar until pandemic finally forced management’s hand on this) it would seem that it is even more imperative that everyone do their best to minimize transmission risk (especially if your org can’t, or in your case, won’t switch to a telecommute setup).

  36. iglwif*

    I would be 100% in favor of a COVID vaccine mandate at my employer. (It goes without saying that vaccine mandates make exceptions for medical contraindications!)

    Also 100% in favor of requiring employers to provide paid sick leave.

    1. Oxford Comma*

      Yes. I’m on board with this. When I have to go back into the library, I want to be safe and I want our patrons to be safe. And this will accomplish that.

  37. Susie*

    When I read your post, my first thought was that you’re concerned that the vaccine requirement means that your employer will use that to force you back to the work site. Maybe-you know your employer better than we do. But instead of fighting the COVID vaccine requirement, which I support for the public health benefit, are there other ways to push back against returning to the work site?
    I might be off base, but wanted to throw this out there in case you’re thinking about doubling down on Anti vaccine stuff just to not have to return to the building.

    1. OP*

      Hi Susie, OP here. What went into the calculation for coming up with this mandate is a question in my mind for sure that I will probably never know the answer to. This is not my hill to die on, unless I am one of the rare people that ends up having a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine, at which point I will wonder who is liable for that just before croaking. I am more interested in the question of whether or not corporations should have the right to create and enforce such a mandate, and what goes into the calculation within management in choosing to enact a policy like this or opting instead for alternatives. There has been discussion on the latter elsewhere online.

  38. Lucious*

    I think this is one of those questions which doesn’t have a right answer. Employers rationally don’t want outbreaks, but forcing people to take a vaccine is crossing boundaries. We wouldn’t accept a company forcing people to eat a certain food or making staff drink alcohol as a condition of employment. From an employee choice perspective, a mandatory covid-19 vaccine isn’t a step forward.

    On the flip side of the issue, a COVID vaccine must be mandatory to be effective on a mass scale. Forcing people to take this vaccine health will concretely save lives.

    Both sides are correct. Therein lies the debate, and why I’m not smart enough to resolve it with this comment.

    1. Littorally*

      This is a good analysis. While I think everyone who can should get the vaccine, I don’t feel great about employers requiring it. But, of course, it is a major health issue and mandatory vaccination will save thousands upon thousands of lives.

    2. AnotherLibrarian*

      Yes, this is my challenge as well. There’s a public health question, but there is also a- how far it is acceptable for employers to go as private entities enforcing a medical treatment (which this is) on their workers? I don’t feel like that line is clear cut or easily identified.

    3. fhqwhgads*

      What you eat cannot affect my well-being. You drinking alcohol could potentially affect my well-being in a bad way. You getting COVID is bad for public health.
      Consequently I would not accept a company requiring people to eat a certain food or drink alcohol because of the potential consequences of those two things. And I would accept a company requiring requiring people to get a vaccine (excepting those medically contraindicated), again, because of the potential consequences.

      The comparison here should not be about the “requiring” aspect, but rather about the “what happens because of that requiring”. Require harmful thing = bad. Require helpful thing = good.

    4. Xantar*

      Your comparison is off base. Forcing people to eat a certain food or drink alcohol has no impact on anybody else’s lives but their own.

    5. Roci*

      Yes, this is where I come down. I am strongly pro-vax but not in favor of companies mandating it.

      I hope this can be achieved through carrots rather than sticks. Mostly I’m afraid of creating new polices that will create loopholes/have unintended consequences that will empower companies that want to implement drug testing on employees, discrimination based on private nicotine use, religious/fringe anti-vax pseudo-science promoters, and other groups I oppose.

      This is not as cut-and-dried as it seems :(

    6. LDF*

      Comparing a lifesaving vaccine to being forced to consume alcohol is ridiculous. Should we also ban dress codes that require wearing a shirt, because a dress code that required a bikini would be bad? And shirts don’t save lives, unlike the covid vaccine, which saves lives.

    7. JM60*

      but forcing people to take a vaccine is crossing boundaries.

      Is it really worse than forcing people to be exposed to COVID?

      We wouldn’t accept a company forcing people to eat a certain food or making staff drink alcohol as a condition of employment.

      That’s because what you eat doesn’t affect me and is none of my business. If you and I are sharing air for any significant amount of time, you not being vaccinated does affect me, and becomes my business.

      From an employee choice perspective, a mandatory covid-19 vaccine isn’t a step forward.

      What about employees who want to choose to not be exposed to COVID from their co-workers at work?

    8. Elsajeni*

      I think a more accurate comparison is requiring employees to pass some type of health screening. There are plenty of jobs that require their employees to pass a drug test, or to be tested for specific health conditions (a TB test came up upthread, for example), and situations where proof of other, non-COVID vaccinations is required. These screenings aren’t perfect and can be used in a way that oversteps, for sure — I think many commenters would agree, for example, that pre-employment drug tests are unnecessary and invasive in a lot of cases, and I know people who have had hassles with other medical screenings where the sort of blunt-instrument “here’s the test, pass or fail” didn’t mesh well with their personal complex medical history. But we do accept those screenings, at least where we feel that they’re necessary or relevant, and looking at how those policies work (and when they work vs. when they don’t) is probably a good starting point for making policy about the COVID vaccines.

    9. OP*

      I think what you are getting at is the duality of having an individual’s right to make decisions about their own health on one hand and the fact that more people getting the vaccine will slow the mutation of the virus down which will help humanity get a hold of this problem on the other. I haven’t seen any evidence that the vaccine must be mandatory in order to achieve this result. I would have hoped that encouragement and available supply would have been enough for most people in my country to opt in voluntarily so that we would never need to get into the discussion of mandates. A mandate at this point, like one other person here pointed out, seems premature and assumes that our population/workplace can’t be trusted to get through this on their own volition.

      Will this company end up requiring the potential yearly booster shot someone mentioned? If your employer forces you to get a vaccine and you suffer serious health consequences from that, can you expect them to compensate you somehow for this? Who pays for your medical care in this scenario, you or the employer? Who pays for your mandatory vaccine? Will this set a precedent to require flu vaccines in the workplace where they weren’t previously required? Should building managers be required to improve indoor air quality before requiring flu vaccines?

      A mandate raises so many questions that are difficult to answer. Why not ask your employees where they stand on the vaccine first in a voluntary survey – you may not even need a mandate if everyone is already on board – and then try incentives first before a mandate? Because here’s the thing – had this company just informed everyone of an opportunity to get vaccinated and stopped there, that would have sounded like a generous and caring act of goodwill. A mandate makes it look and feel like it’s more about productivity and the bottom line.

  39. M*

    My spouse works in long-term care, and this year they strongly encourage but do not require the vaccine. Although I wish everyone would get it, there is a lot of hesitancy among the staff, so not requiring feels like an appropriate way to avoid conflict.

    But during the next flu season, they intend to require anyone who doesn’t get both the flu and covid vaccines to wear masks at all times. That feels like an appropriate way to respect people’s feelings about vaccines while still protecting staff and patients as much as possible. Masks have severely cut down on cold and flu transmission nationwide, and it feels like they will become much more widespread in healthcare.

    1. Oxford Comma*

      I gotta say, this past year is the healthiest I have been in terms of cold and flu. I’m going to be wearing a mask during flu season from now on.

      1. Third or Nothing!*

        I have a great immune system, so I already rarely got sick even before social distancing and mask wearing came into the picture. But I tell you what, wearing a mask while outside has significantly reduced my allergy symptoms. I’ll be masking up while hiking during cedar season from now on! Now if only I could find a mask I could wear while running outdoors without triggering an asthma attack…

    2. Chilipepper*

      Given that we have a vaccine, I don’t think wearing masks is actually enough to “protect staff and patients as much as possible.”

      And honestly, I’m not that interested in respecting people’s feelings about the facts.

      1. M*

        If we were still pre-Covid and talking about just the flu vaccine, I would totally agree with a stricter approach. But, it’s important to know that the covid vaccine uptake rate in this facility is about 30% of staff. There’s a lot of questions and unease about it. And the staff are all hourly, direct care employees. If they laid out anything stricter, it’s not exaggerating to say that most staff would simply quit and it would be impossible to fill the ranks with only folks willing to get vaccinated. Compromise approaches, as a steppingstone toward better vaccination rates in the future, can be the right tool in the right situation.

    3. TPS reporter*

      Right if they don’t want to force people to vaccinate they’ve got to do other things such as masks, testing and attestation big symptoms. Those measures are a bigger lift administratively than a vaccine. But people in public facing professions especially health care have to know that their ability to hold the job is contingent on compliance with public health measures

  40. DivineMissL*

    I got the vaccine as soon as I could, because I would never forgive myself if I inadvertently passed the virus to someone else and they became sick or died.

    I have and will continue to take all other precautions (masks, gloves, distance, handwashing, etc.) as much as I can, because I would never forgive myself if I inadvertently passed the virus to someone else and they became sick or died.

    I am doing it all to protect everyone around me, to the extent I am able. I have a responsibility to those around me, to keep them as safe as possible. It’s not always convenient or comfortable, but I believe it’s the right thing to do.

  41. Specialist*

    Get the vaccine.
    I am a physician. I’ve lost several patients and some patients’ family members to Covid.
    Get the vaccine. It is the smart choice. If you have questions, talk to your doctor. Do not take advice off the internet or your sister’s hairdresser’s cousin.
    Get the vaccine. I got mine as soon as possible. Had to drive a long way through a snow storm to do so, but I got the vaccine.

  42. Message in a Bottle*

    I guess my question is even if you get the vaccine now to stop the spread, would you have to keep getting it? That would currently mean two Covid shots regularly and we don’t even know at what interval. How long does the protection by the current vaccines last? We don’t really know.

    I understand an initial request to stop the spread, but it’s hard to recommend requiring a vaccine when we don’t even know how long the protection lasts. Generally, I don’t share my health information with my job, either. It would be odd if people were treated differently at work, not just for safety but like pariahs just for not getting the vaccine. I hope people are kind about this.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      The guess right now is probably one shot a year for boosters to deal with variants. But we shall see.

    2. D3*

      How many people should die while we wait around to see how long it lasts? Asking for the people who will die in the meantime.
      It’s NOT hard to recommend requiring a vaccine that will save more lives the more people get it.
      I’m more than a little bit boggled that you think it’s acceptable to let all the death and suffering go on while you wait to see how long the vaccine lasts. You waiting for 5 years? 10? 50?
      We don’t know yet if boosters or annual variant vaccines will be needed. That doesn’t mean we don’t act now. It means we act now AND if necessary act again later.

      1. Sparta*

        We’ve got all kids of cancer that people are dying from. I don’t see a vaccine for any of these and they’ve been around for years . . . . . .

        I’d like to see the same cutting the vaccine red tape for those things like for COVID. Until then, I just don’t trust it. It’s been released way to fast. We have so many things killing people in horrible ways. Families wiped out over generations.

        1. sequined histories*

          Well, all the vaccines that I know of are used to prevent infectious illnesses. Cancer is generally not an infectious illness. To the extent that we now understand that an infectious illness can set the stage cancer—as is the case with human papilloma virus and cervical cancer—we are starting to see some “anti-cancer” vaccines emerge.

          There will always be a tension between “cutting red tape” so that people can get access to urgently needed new therapies, and safeguarding public health by carefully vetting them before they come into widespread use. Dr. Fauci’s evolution with regard to allowing desperately ill people access to new HIV therapies is a fascinating case in point.

          There will always be tensions and trade-offs with regard to how public health money is spent—which diseases and conditions get more money and which get less.

          Rejecting vaccines that will save millions—and perhaps billions—of lives because of these issues strikes me as making the perfect the enemy of good, to put it mildly.

    3. Dahlia*

      We don’t just get one and done of almost any vaccine. You get a flu shot every year. You get a TDAP booster every decade or so. That’s how it works. Why should covid be any different?

    4. LDF*

      So get one now, and by next year we’ll have data that tells us if you need another one. I genuinely don’t understand how this is any kind of deterrent to getting vaccinated.

    5. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Simply put: it *could* end up being one that you have to get a booster for every few years/year. We can’t know.

      Virologists/Immunologists have had to work at incredible speed to get this developed, tested (yep, it has been!) and out in a race against time to stop more people dying. It’s also a novel virus and while it’s been isolated and genetically sequenced we still don’t know everything about it.

      So, if we’d decided to run tests for a few years before releasing it there’d be even more people dying and likely a lot of threats against the vaccine developers for WHY isn’t something out yet.

      I’m disabled, I’m getting a vaccine and will have nothing but sympathy and respect for those who don’t get it due to a proper medical reason. However, anyone else (with ‘I want to wait a couple years’, ‘it’s a tool of big pharma’, ‘it’s more dangerous than the virus’ etc) I am quite happy saying I’ll have no respect for.

    6. JM60*

      How long does the protection by the current vaccines last?

      That depends in part on how many people get the vaccine. The fewer people get it, the more people will get COVID, and the more chances the virus will have to mutate into resistant strains. We should get vaccinated now, and gradually find out when boosters are needed as we get more data over time.

  43. ElleKay*

    Sorry, I’m not even going to try with the comments here so apologies if this has been covered:
    It sounds like there are 2 questions here
    First, the vaccine mandate from your employer
    and Second, the option to telecommute.

    It’s easy, in the circumstances, to connect the two but they are two separate issues. Yes, you might be able to work from home. Yes, your employer may not allow a 100% shift to working from home permanently. Yes, they might require a covid vaccine.

    I don’t think it’s doing you any good to assume that, If no vaccine = work from home = Problem solved!
    With a few exceptions, At Will employment is likely to come down on your employers side. You, yes, have the right to not get the vaccine but they (probably) also have the right to let you go in that case.

    Trying to argue that you don’t want the vaccine and you’d like to continue teleworking are 2 separate things and putting your foot down on one isn’t likely to help with the other.

    If you, big picture, want to keep working remotely I would suggest you start trying to have that conversation with your management; no mention of vaccines needed.

    (Also, depending on your age, health and location, it could still be weeks to months before you can get a vaccine; if you think you might feel differently in a few weeks (when a lot more people will have gotten vaccinated and we’ve had time for more possible side effects to show up, for example) then I’d be doubly cautious about speaking up now and creating a concerning impression that might linger

    1. TWW*

      “My job can be done entirely remotely and this has been proven, but my company still is resistant to telecommuting.”

      This was the most interesting part of OP’s letter–implying that your employer shouldn’t be allowed to require you onsite if it can be “proven” that you can do your job remotely.

      Obviously this isn’t the case, but should it be? Can we look forward to a future when “the right to work remotely (when possible)” is widely accepted?

      1. Chilipepper*

        I can do at least 80% of my job from home and when we were closed to the public in the summer I could do 100% of my job from home. But my employer will not allow anyone to work from home. That is my job. I can ask, they can say no, and I have to decide if I am willing to keep working for them given those conditons. Thats it.

        1. TWW*

          “I can ask, they can say no”

          Not long ago, the same could have been said about lunch breaks and overtime pay. Now they’re required for most workers.

          I can envision a day when employers are legally required to allow workers to work remotely when possible.

      2. Filosofickle*

        I’d love it, but IMO “widely accepted” is a high bar. More companies have seen the “proof” and are open to remote work now, and that’s great news. A client of mine has gone to that standard — if your position is permitted to be remote, you are allowed to and it’s your choice. However, that’s a tech company and pretty much everything except building ops and reception can be remote so that makes it easier. It’s an operational and cultural choice that I don’t think the majority of companies want to support.

        The next few years will determine a lot. If this wave of remote work has real benefits like cost savings and talent recruitment/retention, there will be case studies and the movement will grow. If companies start seeing declines in things like innovation and culture, it will roll back. (That’s what Yahoo did years back. They called all their remote workers back and they were PISSED but Mayer insisted the company was less productive.)

    2. TPS reporter*

      I am very pro vax l. However, due to the uncertainty of the availability of the vaccine, how many boosters well need, and the variants I do think it’s absurd for companies to push employees back to work who are effective from home. Honestly do it a year from now. Why push people when they’re still feeling a lot of anxiety? I’m vaccinated but my husband is not. There’s still a chance I could pick it up and carry it to him so I’m still being very careful. I would be devastated to be forced back into an office when work is very much productive at home.

    3. OP*

      I think the reason why I included the fact that my job can be done entirely remotely was not because I am attached to remote work but to make clear that (1) perhaps those with public facing jobs that cannot be done remotely should be prioritized over me for the vaccine (at least some of them have not been, it’s kind of a mess that I understand may be out of my employer’s hands), and (2) with telecommuting being a viable option, that is one obvious alternative to a mandate.

  44. Foreign Octopus*

    It’s hard not to feel that there’s a level of selfishness being masqueraded as concern here and the privilege is overwhelming right now.

    This isn’t like the flu shot that you can take or leave as you want (though please get the flu shot if you’re eligible), this is a serious, highly contagious vaccine that has killed upwards of half a million Americans, over 100,000 Britons, and 2.61 million people worldwide in the space of a year.

    A year.

    And every single day there are media images of people protesting wearing masks, of going on holiday, of acting as though the lives of the people around them aren’t at risk because of a disease that can be slow if people took the proper precautions. With the flouting of restrictions around the globe, companies are forcing people back to work too early, and some people have no choice but to go into work because they can’t afford the alternative.

    Take the vaccine.

    The more people who are vaccinated the better it is for everyone.

    This isn’t a case of individual freedom, this is a case of collective care, and at some point, public health has to be valued higher than individual liberty.

    1. STEMprof*

      While flu is not comparable to covid, we still have 50-200+ pediatric flu deaths every year, including in healthy kids, so please ftlog get your flu shot, especially if you are spending time around young kids or the elderly. And I hope the concern about covid in schools will also lead to flu vaccine mandates in schools, which we should have had long ago. /soapbox

  45. La Triviata*

    I’m older and have underlying health conditions, so I signed up to get the vaccine as soon as I could. I’ve had my first shot and have an appointment for the second one. I also got the flu shot a few months ago, just to be as safe as possible.

    I don’t know if anyone brought it up – I may have missed it – but unvaccinated people, in addition to running the risk of infecting others, provide a chance for the virus to mutate and possibly become even more lethal.

    In better news, I saw a story that, last year, one child died of the flu. The previous year 200 died. Whether it was people getting flu shots, wearing masks or social distancing, something helped.

  46. Pipe Organ Guy*

    My mother had polio in the early 1930s when she was 16. She recovered some use of her legs, but a good bit of damage was done. When the Salk vaccine came out in the 1950s, you can bet my parents made sure I (4 or 5 at5 the time) got vaccinated. When the Sabin oral vaccine came out in the early 60s, you can bet they made sure I got my doses. They made sure I got vaccinated for diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (there weren’t vaccines yet for measles, mumps, rubella, or chickenpox, so I had those illnesses). I got the smallpox vaccine twice even (I just didn’t form much of a scar!). I get my flu shot every year, because I’ve had flu often enough that I just want to avoid it if at all possible (and yes, sometimes the vaccine misses its mark). The only vaccination I’ve ever had a strong reaction to was a pneumonia vaccine years ago. I had a very, very sore arm from it, and that was a not-rare reaction.

    I practically jumped for joy when my age cohort became eligible for vaccination, and I got scheduled at our neighborhood pharmacy. My first shot was last week; the extent of my reaction was a mildly sore spot on my shoulder. My second shot is scheduled, and if I have a reaction, so be it.

    Not being able to get a vaccination because of allergies or physical difficulties connected with ingredients of the vaccine is one thing. Being resistant because of skepticism poorly based in fact is quite another, and I have little patience with that.

    1. OP*

      Thank you for sharing your story. To clarify, I wasn’t saying I was skeptical of the vaccine. My issue was with the employer mandate.

  47. PJ*

    I’ve had Covid within the last 90 days, over 40% of our population has been vaccinated and we’ve had zero cases in the last two weeks. If I weigh risk vs. benefits, I’m going to land on the wait to get vaccinated side, for now. I have multiple friends who said that the 2nd shot made them feel bad enough to take off work. Since I’m a teacher and since all the teachers are scheduled for vaccinations in the same time frame, I think that my waiting to get the shot seems like a smart plan for now. And since it seems like the vaccine had a slow initial roll out, I think it also makes sense for me to wait until other people at higher risk are vaccinated first. It seems like there is so much emotion rolled up into this thing…. not sure why it needs to be that way!

    1. Nicki Name*

      Well, the pandemic’s involved a lot of death. People tend to get emotional about that.

      1. Doc in a Box*

        Yeah … after what I’ve seen this past year, it’s hard not to get emotional about it. One of the big traumas that the medical community is going to have to deal with is the massive disconnect between our lived experience and the dismissive attitude of the general public toward mitigation measures and the vaccines. Not that I want others to have to set foot on a covid unit either, but it’s pretty alienating and feels like a betrayal of all that “Clap for Carers” stuff. I am not a Veteran but it reminds me of what Vets talk about returning from deployment and trying to reintegrate into civilian life.

        PJ, I don’t mean to call you out, and it is recommended to stagger vaccinations across a work unit so not everyone is out at once, but please do get the vaccine once your 90 days are up!

        1. PJ*

          I guess when I say “why get so emotional” I really should have said political, and the kind of emotion that leads to poor decision making – not the natural emotion and sadness and stress over it all. And no worries, I don’t feel called out, my full time job is a high school teacher but I’m also a part-time long-term care and hospital consultant dietitian. We had one school nurse pass away from covid, and we also had a large percentage of our long term residents test positive from Covid along with staff. We fortunately did not lose anyone in LTC to covid… that’s kind of amazing and can only be a tribute to the caregivers. It’s up to our health dept. to decide how/if vaccinations will be staggered but I don’t see that staggering is the plan. That’s why I feel that waiting for my own vaccination is safe and responsible and when the vaccine is more available I can get it then.

          1. OP*

            I’m sorry to hear about the losses around you and support your decision to wait until the time feels right for you. If it were up to me, I would have waited a bit longer myself until it were more widely available. One of the biggest takeaways from the pandemic for me has been the importance of generosity and consideration of others.

  48. Autoimmune warrior*

    I WISH my office would. As someone who recently had cancer and is compromised by other autoimmune conditions there’s no way I’m going to feel safe next to anti vaxxers in the office

  49. Catherine*

    I am in a country where I am part of an ethnic majority that is often underrepresented in foreign clinical trials, and our government was specifically hesitant about the vaccine because of this. Now that we are using the Pfizer vaccine, we’re seeing much higher rates of anaphylaxis than America and the UK.

    While I desperately want the vaccine (I’m in no way anti-vax, and get my flu shot every year), I’m now worried by the fact that adverse reactions are occurring with higher frequency among my demographic group. I don’t think I feel safe getting the shot until our anaphylaxis rate is low enough to be on par with other countries. I’d be concerned by my employer mandating it and I think the only way I could move forward with vaccination immediately under those circumstances would be if my employer accepts liability for any adverse reaction I may have.

  50. Prof. Murph*

    We mandate a number of vaccines for our private-university students. There hasn’t been formal talks about a requirement for the COVID-19 vaccine but I mention this to illustrate it’s not unusual to require vaccinations for certain diseases.

  51. Chickaletta*

    Even the private hospital I work at can’t require it because it’s under EUA so I’m curious what legal opinions say differently. We don’t even have a right to ask who’s received it because it’s considered a personal health decision. (The flu shot is a different matter.) It certainly makes the loosening of restrictions at facilities more difficult, but not impossible. I think the bottom line is that if a freaking hospital can do without this mandate, then other lines of businesses can as well.

    Keep in mind, ya’ll, that the COVID vaccine does not make one immune to COVID. What it does is reduce transmission and major symptoms, and has shown to greatly reduce hospitalization and death (don’t quote me, but I believe that there are no recorded deaths from COVID by people who have received the vaccine).

    1. Nicki Name*

      There are no recorded deaths beyond a certain period after vaccination, because it does take time for your body to build up immunity. I believe it’s 2 weeks after your second shot for the 2-shot vaccines, 4 weeks for the J&J vaccine.

    2. Jessica Fletcher*

      I encourage you to google and read the articles discussing the legal question! A big thing you might consider is the even *if* a business couldn’t require a vaccination under an EUA, both the Moderna and Pfizer vax are expected to clear the full approval process in about 2 months. So even if you LW sued over this, it’s likely to be moot by the time anything would go to court.

      Why in the world does the “hospital” where you work think they can’t ask about Covid vax status but they can ask about flu shot status? It’s the same, except Covid is much more dangerous. I’m frankly concerned about the legal team over there. Is it just a retired priest with a quill and ink well?

      Is your hospital Catholic and has become anti-Covid vax because they don’t want people getting the J&J one? A serious question. There are priests telling people not to get that one. They’d rather you die.

      1. TPS reporter*

        Right you can definitely ask if someone has been vaccinated you just can’t dig into why if no as you can’t force them to reveal medical information.

      2. Chickaletta*

        Interesting assumptions, although incorret. Are you a health care attorney, Jessica?

        With all respect, I am not going to do my research on Google. That’s how a lot of people become uninformed in the first place. I get my information from our infection control experts, chief medical director, and general counsel.

  52. Jessica Fletcher*

    LW sounds anti-science in that they don’t seem to understand that Covid will only get worse if everyone who can get a vaccine, doesn’t get one. The vaccine is the way out of this hell. You need to get one unless you have a real, legit medical reason that you CAN’T.

    The vaccine is safe. You will be fine. Please help us stop dying. It’s selfish and silly not to.

    1. Avangiliz*

      People should have a choice just like they do with any other vaccine. Now its COVD, next time it will be depo shots and all kinds of stuff. It’s not selfish to want control over you body. Covid is terrible but the govt. nor my employer should control what goes in and out of my body.

      They are overstepping and it’s getting worse- they are considering requiring vaccine passport to travel= criminal/ creepy HIPAA violation and crazy

  53. Public Sector Manager*

    I have two views, one personal and one business.

    On the personal front, I think everyone who doesn’t have a medical restriction for the vaccine should be required to get the vaccine. In a perfect world, we could do things this way. People who get the vaccine, go about your daily business. People who don’t have a medical reason for not getting the vaccine, you can say no, but you can’t go to the grocery store, you can’t go to a warehouse store, you can’t do to indoor dining, you can’t go to a theme park, you can’t get on a plane, you can’t go to the movies, you can’t work in a building with others, etc.. Basically, you can’t put other people at risk because of your personal decision.

    On a business front, there is always a disconnect between exercising your legal rights and what will actually happen to you. I represented many public employees early in my career and have been on the employer side of things as a public sector manager. Turning to the OP’s question, when you push back on the mandatory vaccines, there are going to be some employers who say, “okay cool, work from home.”

    And there are going to be other employers, some reasonable and many unreasonable, you will order you to get a vaccine and report to work. Here in the U.S., if you’re not covered by the ADA, etc., and you don’t get the vaccine, when these employers push back, they will fire you for abandoning your job. It won’t matter if you can work from home. It won’t matter whether they should or shouldn’t have fired you. If you get fired, you’re going to have to mount a legal challenge without any income coming in, save for unemployment, which is never enough to make up for your lost income and assuming your eligible for it. Until your lawsuit is settled or you win, which could take years, how are you going to pay your bills? What are you going to say to prospective employers about why you were fired from your previous job? What happens if you lose your case?

    I’m not saying people shouldn’t sue when they have a reason, but so many people don’t consider what happens between the day they file their case and the day the case comes to resolution.

    1. OP*

      Thanks for sharing your perspective. I found it interesting and informative. I think this is one of the reasons why I’m not a fan of a mandate, at least in my situation, at least right now, at least not without other alternatives seriously explored first. The employer holds more power than the employee. I’m sure it’s expensive to file a case, both in terms of time and money. Most people probably can’t afford to do it, and so have no real recourse if something goes sideways, which is both unlikely and possible.

  54. Sam Foster*

    Unless you have a medical reason, get the $#@$ vaccine. What is the matter with you? And if you quote the utterly dismissed autism-link survey from the UK get out of here.

  55. PJ*

    I guess when I say “why get so emotional” I really should have said political, and the kind of emotion that leads to poor decision making – not the natural emotion and sadness and stress over it all. And no worries, I don’t feel called out, my full time job is a high school teacher but I’m also a part-time long-term care and hospital consultant dietitian. We had one school nurse pass away from covid, and we also had a large percentage of our long term residents test positive from Covid along with staff. We fortunately did not lose anyone in LTC to covid… that’s kind of amazing and can only be a tribute to the caregivers. It’s up to our health dept. to decide how/if vaccinations will be staggered but I don’t see that staggering is the plan. That’s why I feel that waiting for my own vaccination is safe and responsible and when the vaccine is more available I can get it then.

    1. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Just make sure you don’t wait too long. A few months (2 or 3) is okay. A year or more is not.

  56. Really anonymous health-care worker.*

    I work for a health care organization and currently leadership has told us we won’t be requiring the vaccine because it’s released under an EUA; we normally require either flu vaccine or masking but since we’re not doing this and we can’t violate privacy by saying who’s vaccinated and who’s not, we’re maintaining masking and social distancing for everyone for the foreseeable future.

    1. Chickaletta*

      Yes to all of this.

      Interesting how everyone commenting here that health care organizations can’t require it are actual people like you and me who actually work at one, and the people getting upset and saying that’s not true are people who don’t work at one. I actually had someone above tell me to use the internet to find out the truth and went on a long rant that my health care organization must be religious and run by a priest with a quill pen – just because we can’t require the covid vaccination yet. So funny how as soon as people read something they don’t agree with the stereotypes come flying – on both sides of the issue.

    2. OP*

      Thank you for sharing. All of the points about it not being required in healthcare settings because of the EUA are interesting, as is Alison’s clarification about the legal opinions.

  57. Keymaster of Gozer*

    I think people can guess with my former career as a virologist where I land on this issue.

  58. lilsheba*

    I believe the vaccine should be mandatory. People have been way too flippant about masks, spreading lies about how covid is not that bad etc. They have presented a public health issue and they need to be stopped. If you don’t want to wear a mask and distance and stay home? then at least be safer around me and others.

  59. service workers are not a lower species*

    It’s really interesting to see so many people saying “I have/my family member has a medical reason for not getting vaccinated so vaccination should not be mandatory” instead of “I have/my family member has a medical reason for not getting vaccinated so we need herd immunity to protect us so please everyone who CAN be vaccinated GET vaccinated”. The second aligns better with how disease transmission can actually be prevented.

  60. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

    I know that health care systems have not been able to require the covid vaccine because it is only approved for emergency use at this time. In other words, because of the emergency nature of the pandemic, the vaccine was tested, approved, and rolled out faster than usual. However, that prohibits them from requiring it. So I think that might apply to your role as well.

    It is worth knowing, though, that even if you have had a vaccine reaction in the past, that is no indicator of how you will respond to this vaccine, because it is a completely different kind of vaccine that works differently than others. It doesn’t put a small or inactive part of the virus in you to get an immune response. Rather, it teaches your cells to create a protein that is part of the covid vaccine, and then you immune system responds to that protein. Then it can recognize and fight the virus based on the protein. Just passing this along in case anyone is worried due to a past reaction.

    1. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

      And I just saw Allison’s comments on this. I do know that hospitals have been interpreting it as the inability to require it, but it looks like it could be a legal battle to oppose it, and one that might not win.

      1. OP*

        It’s kind of strange that healthcare organizations have decided not to require it but my office is.

  61. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

    ok, I see that guidance now says that employers can require it, but will need to be liberal with granting exemptions under the ADA. So if you have a condition that makes taking the vaccine a risk and a doctor’s note saying that for health reasons, you should not get the vaccine at this time, then that should be accommodated.

  62. Sabrina Spellman*

    I work at a private institution in a department that is public facing, but my own work can be done 100% remote. The same can’t be said for our front office coordinator who has to deal with mail and other in-person items. She is 70+, but avoids taking care of her health as much as possible. Even though she’s terrified of returning to the office, she won’t get the vaccine. I feel it should be mandatory because she has the possibility of infecting a large number of people if she were to contract COVID, and I doubt she’d get tested for it.

Comments are closed.