my company isn’t enforcing its vaccine mandate

A reader writes:

My employer announced a vaccine mandate (with a waiver process) several months ago. That made me feel quite confident about returning to work in the office. Now the deadline is upon us. It’s not clear what will happen with people who have not gotten vaccinated or arranged for an exemption by the official deadline. I thought that “we are requiring everyone to be fully vaccinated as of X date” would mean that, well, it was required. That’s also the date when people who have been working from home are expected to start returning to the office.

But there has been no public planning for how to cover the roles of people who aren’t vaccinated. And leadership did not reply when I asked recently if there will be unvaccinated people without exemptions in the workspace after the deadline. (Other colleagues at my level messaged me to say they appreciated me asking the question.)

If the vaccine requirement is not actually required, I am much less comfortable returning to work in shared spaces. What can I do to get more info about “how required” the requirement is (I hope someone will say it’s actually a strong requirement after all, and my worries are baseless) and to advocate for stronger enforcement of it? I used to give my organization’s leaders the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t anymore. I am getting the impression that they think I am out of my lane for asking about the vaccine requirement, let alone advocating for a different policy.

You can read my answer to this letter at New York Magazine today — plus questions about a boss who isn’t letting people work from home anymore, how to propose in-person meetings without making people uncomfortable, and more. Head over there to read it.

{ 256 comments… read them below }

  1. christine*

    My office is also doing the “you have to come back to the office Because Reasons” thing, and it’s incredibly frustrating. I don’t want to work from home permanently! But due to the hybrid in-office/remote schedule that we’re on and the ongoing concerns about COVID, we’re not getting the major benefit of being in the office: having face to face meetings. I’ll be sitting in a cubicle on a Zoom call, instead of sitting at my dining room table on a Zoom call. We shouldn’t be going back until there’s actually a benefit to it.

    1. Laney Boggs*

      +1. Cases are rising and our county is 30% vaccinated. On Friday we had two cases in the facility (though not specified if it was the office where I am or the warehouse).

      To stop wearing masks in-office (yeah, we had to come in and were supposed to wear masks full time at our desks), all we had to do was a scan a QR code and “attest” we had the vaccine. No proof required, just pinky promise :) not that I expect anyone is monitoring who attested to the vaccine and who just stopped wearing a mask.

      I’m done.

      1. Liz*

        we are back on a “limited” opening. meaning a couple of days of week. when the guidelines were put in place, for our middle of July “reopening”, if you were vaccinated, AND provided proof, you didn’t need to wear a mask in the office. if you chose not to reveal your vax status or were not vaccinated, you had to wear a mask.

        BUT. who’s enforcing this? no one seems to know, and all guidance has come from HR, and i’ve heard that no one from that group has come in yet. things may change with the rise in Delta infections, but really, why have rules if there isn’t a concrete plan to enforce or follow them?

      2. Cobol*

        I have to come in twice a week for those “important water-cooler conversations.” Never mind that I don’t work in the same physical location as anybody I interact with professionally.

        We’re supposed to wear masks when not in our office with the door shut. Last time I was in we had somebody using the desk in the open area that’s circled by 5 offices including mine. Not only was she not wearing a mask, but I found out her husband was finally off oxygen because he had COVID.

      3. Anon this time*

        I’m in a similar boat. My employer initially took a hard line-anyone in the building needed to be vaccinated or have a medical or sincere religious exemption. Then we found out that pretty much all of the religious exemptions were approved, even the ones that didn’t include any evidence of a sincerely held belief (and there is evidence that most do not have any such beliefs-I can’t give more detail, so you’ll have to trust me that it’s compelling). Then it turned to “you have to be vaccinated, but you’re only encouraged to submit documentation, we’ll take your word for it if you don’t.” Now there’s an exemption option that basically amounts to “I don’t wanna.” I have family members who are immunocompromised, I need to make an accurate risk assessment. I went from feeling more safe at work than anywhere else in my community (which has rapidly increasing COVID numbers and a persistently low vaccination rate) to feeling anxious and, frankly, deceived.

    2. generic_username*

      I was having this conversation with someone recently. You don’t get the benefits of in-person work if we all hustle immediately to our separate offices and close the door, which we 100% will be doing while the pandemic is this bad. I’m not going to go sit in a conference room with all of my coworkers when we can easily and efficiently have the same meeting on zoom (also, as a numbers person, I personally prefer zoom meetings because I can easily pull up and reference documents/data; when we meet in person, I have to say some variation of “I’ll look that up when I get back to my desk and get back to you” to most questions)

      1. quill*

        Yeah, some roles require you to be there for security / physically moving items around reasons.

        Everyone else should just stay home so that there are fewer human vectors in the covid roulette bullet chamber.

          1. PT*

            I think a large majority of people would rather turn their bathroom into their home office by sitting backwards on the toilet, using the toilet tank as their desk, than risk COVID in an unprepared in-person office.

            1. KHB*

              We’re a year and a half into this thing. If offices are still unprepared, it’s because they chose not to prepare.

              1. nothing rhymes with purple*

                That’s very true, but why should the other employees have to risk their health if those managing the office have decided to be negligent?

          2. quill*

            Desperate times, desperate measures.

            Preventing spread requires universal containment measures where possible, not just where convenient. Few people like wearing masks or taking temperature scans either.

      2. ShakenNotStirred*

        My office has gone back to in-person and we still have all our meetings on Zoom. It’s kinda dumb.

      3. Marie*

        Eh, I think this varies depending on the person. I actually prefer Zoom calls from my desk to face to face meetings most of the time…I have (larger) multiple screens in case I have to screen share or reference something, I have snacks in case I get hungry, a sweater if I get cold, etc. Plus I fidget, which doesn’t go over well in in-person meetings. And if it’s a meeting I have to be in but don’t really need to be in, then I can pull up another screen and do other stuff.

        But at the same time, I do like being partially in office because I have a better work setup here and I can have casual encounters with coworkers in the cafe, the hallway, etc. I also have a printer here, which I don’t have at home.

      4. Jayn*

        My husband started going back in part time (it’s optional) even though he’s alone on his floor because he misses the chance to even just stop by to see someone else. But they’re adding mask rules so he’s thinking he might just go back to full time at home. He doesn’t really see the point now.

        1. elle*

          This is exactly what happened to me. I tried going back, but there was basically no one there so what was the point? I went once alone which was a total flop and two other times arranged to have lunch with folks. But now we have masking back in place and they are closing the dining room again so there’s no point at all.

        1. Splendid Colors*

          It’s easier to share screens on Zoom than having people peering at your laptop from across a conference table, though. (Unless you have a projector in the conference room, I guess.)

    3. KHB*

      My office has almost the opposite problem: Our in-office policy has only barely been updated since last September, and not at all since April, and it won’t be updated again until at least the end of the year. (That policy is: You can work in the office if you want to, but occupancy is capped at such a low level that most teams can’t all meet together in person on the same day, so almost everybody has kept on working remotely. No allowances for vaccination status – our CEO is adamantly opposed to even asking – or negative tests, or anything else. On the flip side, the “guidance” we get for coming into the office is laughably meaningless. We’re not supposed to come in if we’ve traveled in the past 14 days to a location “that’s been identified as having a high rate of COVID transmission.” “Identified” by whom? They don’t say.)

      The assumption seems to be that we’ve been working remotely for this long “just fine,” so what’s a little longer? But we’re not communicating with each other nearly as well as we used to, and the cracks are starting to show. Twice in the past week, I’ve discovered that I’d been left out of important conversations that I really should have been a part of. Plus, there are some employees who need to work in the office every so often because some things can only be done in the office, and it’s like nobody seems to care about keeping them safe.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        Can you ask whoever sent the memo about travel to areas identified as having a high transmission rate whether that means “identified by the CDC”? That’s what came to my mind first, and asking it that way might feel less confrontational than “what does this mean? identifed by who?”

        1. Splendid Colors*

          It would also be helpful if the intranet or whatever had a link to the CDC site or wherever the current reference for “high transmission rate areas” is kept.

    4. HigherEdAdminista*

      What you are saying makes a ton of sense. We are returning to campus, but we are doing so part-time and when I am in I will be alone, attending Zoom meetings or meeting with students remotely. It all seems pretty ridiculous and there is really no benefit to it.

      1. Kelly*

        I also work in higher ed at a public institution. To some extent, my colleagues and I were fortunate enough that those who weren’t already weren’t working on campus, which was probably the majority of the people in my larger division, only had to start returning to on site work at the beginning of this month. The very optimistic goal is that everyone who didn’t get either a remote or hybrid work agreement, which was the vast majority of staff, is onsite full time by the start of the semester after Labor Day. Other state workers had to start transitioning back in June and be on site full time by mid July. The perception is that the decision to force us back to onsite work and make remote and hybrid work options not the norm is a political decision intended to inspire confidence where we are in handling the pandemic. Due to rising covid numbers, masks were mandatory again first week of the month, unless you were in a private office.

        The reality is that most people are trying not to get too comfortable back on campus, because it really seems like this fall is going to be a repeat of Fall 2020, where campus lasted less than 2 weeks attempting hybrid instruction. It’s telling that the more pragmatic or less optimistic, depending on your point of view, people are still scheduling virtual meetings even when most people are expected to be back on site. They may not want to spend over a half hour in travel time just to get to an hour long in person meeting. Most meetings that are happening in person are happening in spaces where we can spread out.

        Sadly, that reality doesn’t apply to instructional settings. Campus isn’t mandating social distancing yet, so lecture halls are going to be at capacity. Some instructors are looking out for their students’ safety and looking for ways to get around the face to face instruction mandate coming from campus, but that depends a lot on their departments and colleges’ attitude towards hybrid instruction. Most colleges and universities in the US invested enormous amounts of money to make virtual and hybrid instruction possible last year. It makes no sense to throw that investment away so quickly. The worse offenders are probably the older faculty who were resistant to offering hybrid options. That same attitude extends towards their other instructional choices, including not using online options for course reserves.

        I had to work 5 days last week, covering for a coworker. It was a long week. I ran out of actual productive work after 3 days. This week I’m only in 2 days and I’m out of work to do on site. One colleague has started coming in 5 days a week for half days. I’m not sure how much actual work that he could only do on site he got done. Most of the work he did could have been done just as well from home and he wouldn’t have had to pay for parking. The real adjustment for him will be having to work full days on site, something I’ve been doing for a year now on my on site days.

        1. After 33 years ...*

          Similar situation at our spot in Canada: we currently have a very low case load, no community transmission, and high (and increasing) vaccination rates, but some of us are very cautious. We had a “return to campus” in January, followed by a “return to home” about a week later. I didn’t even get to redeem my free-coffee-from-campus-vendor card… Our low-enrollment (say less than X) courses are supposed to meet F2F, whereas high enrollment courses are remote. So, I set my allowed enrollment at X+1, just to be cautious, although for the moment I have scheduled optional F2F once a week for Autumn.
          Mild disagreement: hybrid courses are more work for professors than are either fully remote or fully in-person ones. Our faculty’s resistance to remote teaching corresponds more with lack of experience / confidence in remote instruction rather than with the number of years of teaching.

    5. A Simple Narwhal*

      I’m in the same boat, we’re going back in “because reasons”. A majority of my calls are with international folks, meaning I’ll also be taking Zoom meetings from my cubicle instead of my desk at home. It makes no sense! Plus my commute with public transportation means I’ll be in later and have to leave earlier than I would be working from home, so that’s less productivity from an hours perspective, and that’s not even taking into account the office being louder and more disruptive to my day.

      Blergh I’m trying to keep an open mind but I am not a happy camper.

      1. TrainerGirl*

        We got to hear from our CEO last week that the office will be “safer than anyplace except maybe your own home.” But they’ve done nothing to our workspaces, so those of us who are in super open spaces with maybe a foot between us are screwed.

    6. BayCay*

      I feel goofy most days because currently, my boss and another coworker still work partially from home, so yup, Zoom cubicle meetings. Even worse, on days when my boss IS in the office but my coworker isn’t, we still Zoom separately (me in my cubicle, her in her private office.) It does seem pretty silly but that seems to be life now, so

    7. Nancy Drew*

      Yes, THIS! We’re all back 100% because “Reasons” and we sit in our cube farms on Zoom, wearing masks.

  2. TeaLover*

    My office has a vaccine mandate if someone has to come in the building, but only for certain roles. Roles that are harder to fill don’t have a mandate and easily replaceable roles do.

    Not only does this suck for morale, but last time I checked Covid doesn’t care what job you have.

    1. mcfizzle*

      Kind of like when restaurants had the smoking and non-smoking sections separated by that very low wall. I always wondered how the smoke was supposed to know to stay back behind that line. And.. it clearly didn’t stay back.
      Anyways, the same ridiculously faulty logic at play. Wow.

    2. Mstr*

      What is the reasoning here? The more valuable people should interact more with the less vaccinated and/or it’s okay for them to be more likely to get more severely ill … great plan, stellar logic.

      1. TechWriter*

        I think it’s “we expect pushback to mandates, so we don’t want to enforce it on the valuable people in case they quit over it, but its fine if easily-replaceable people quit.”

  3. Free Meerkats*

    In theory, what should matter to the first LW’s manager should be productivity. So one possibility is to be less productive while in the office. Attribute it to all the distractions of meetings/overheard conversations/constant interruptions/etc if the subject comes up. Not unproductive, just less productive. That will give you a business reason to work from home more.

    But, as your manager right now doesn’t care where you work, if you live reasonably close, go into the office, say you’re headed to the park/coffee shop/wherever to wrote, and go home.

    1. BayCay*

      Hi! OP here!

      So, it’s funny you say that because one of my friends jokingly suggested the same thing, that I magically become less productive and attribute it to distractions in-office. Unfortunately, I’m generally too much of a goodie-two-shoes/perfectionist type person to do that. I love my job; I just don’t like that my boss is limiting my flexibility after I’ve proven myself capable of handling 5 days a week from home, let alone a single day. But I will live.

      I have started working from coffee shops more though. Not to be a stinker but to send the message that I am capable of doing my job from wherever, whenever. I’m hoping that after a few months of this, she’ll realize that me physically being at home is essentially the same thing and see logic.

      Another thing I didn’t address in my letter (because it seemed slightly petty) is that my boss herself and another coworker currently still work partially from home for child care reasons. I totally support this. However, it does lend some frustration in the fact that I’m not afforded the same opportunity just because I don’t have kids and have the ability to be in office the whole week. We’re a small team so when I’ve told friends about this, some have suggested that maybe the real reason my boss doesn’t want me working from home is because she wants somebody to physically “man” the office and they know they can depend on me to be there, since I’m single and childless. I’d hate to think that’s true, but even if it was, I don’t see how I could address that without blowing things up. Again, I hope that doesn’t seem petty. I really for have sympathy for caregivers right now so I try to assist as much as I can.

      1. Quickbeam*

        Wow, I feel you on the no kids front. As a nurse I was the go to person for every holiday…people assumed I was always available to cover much desired days off. It got old after a while. We’re people too.

        1. Liz*

          BTDT in previous jobs, and yup. its irritating when its thought that as someone without a partner or kids you are always available! nope.

          1. Childfree*

            +1 The expectation of parents that they deserve special treatment, and our miserable lives are not worth as much as theirs, is really frustrating (from the person who was asked to cover every single evening and weekend event, while colleagues with kids never did). Most of the time I didn’t mind, but the expectation that I was first in line to cover really started to grate after a while.

            After becoming a manager it is one of the things I have little time for – just because someone doesn’t have (small) children doesn’t mean their time isn’t as valuable. Everyone covers, equally.

            Note: most parents aren’t like this, but there are a few who definitely are.

            1. Not a cat*

              A few years ago, I had a direct report who could never make a stand-up no matter what time because, “2 kids.” She also had to push most of her deadlines. Her work quality was below average. I felt for her because her husband didn’t help at all. Finally, we settled on her calling in when she was involved in the project. The late deadlines we couldn’t solve, so we only put her on unimportant projects. The position in my department was her fourth with the company. The CEO liked her so no one was allowed to manage her out.

      2. HigherEdAdminista*

        I am going to say it will really be worth your effort to teach yourself to be less of a goodie-two-shoes, and I say that as someone who falls victim to this way of being as well.

        This might seem cynical, but honestly… managers are counting on people having this tendency to keep things status quo. This isn’t to say you should be come sloppy or irresponsible, but if she has been getting email responses from you at home within 30 minutes… stretch it out to 45 minutes or an hour. If you have been handing things in three days before your deadline… cut it back to 1 day before. It probably isn’t something you would even have to make a conscious effort to do because working in the office is generally more distracting, but the anarchist in my heart is pretty tired of people trying to enforce arbitrary rules. In a few months if you have been doing great work and keeping it up, it is possible she will allow for flexibility, but to me it seems many managers go “but you are working so well under (current conditions)… why change what is working?”

        Just don’t break your back for people who seem uninterested in being flexible for you.

        1. BayCay*

          You make a fair point. If I keep operating at my current level, I can see her saying that I seem to be doing just fine and why would I need even more flexibility. I definitely don’t want to be a slacker, but it might be worth thinking about ways I can show that I generally write better in a quiet environment…which is 100% true.

        2. Esmeralda*

          You could even finish your work at your usual pace, but just don’t submit it asap. Hold it back til just on deadline or a bit before, that kind of thing.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

        Oh man, the old ‘you don’t have kids so you don’t have responsibilities outside the office’. Nothing pisses me off faster than that.

        I cover a lot of the work of people who need to take time off for kid reasons, but they cover for me when I have a day when I can’t get dressed (disability sucks) or when I’m suffering from overdoing it at the physio the day before. I’ve worked in places where they’ve expected me to cover everything all the time and never allowed any time for my own needs and it’s never gone well.

  4. SLR*

    I work for a very large employer in Massachusetts and we were told that vaccines are required unless you have a religious or medical exemption. We were given a deadline for submitting copies of our vaccination cards as proof. They did not specify what the consequences are for not getting vaccinated or not submitting proof of vaccination by the deadline. It will be interesting to see what happens to people who choose not to be vaccinated who don’t get a religious or medical exception. I have many friends who insist that they can’t be fired for simply refusing to get the vaccine. I fear they may find out the hard way that they are wrong. I imagine that my employer along with many others did their due diligence from a legal standpoint before making vaccinations a requirement. I’m still working remotely from home, but I was curious if anyone else’s employer has actually followed the thought all the way through and has actually shared with employees what the consequences will be if they don’t submit proof of vaccination.

    1. RabbitRabbit*

      Mine specifically stated that if proof of vaccination or an accepted waiver was not filed by (specific date), you would be let go.

    2. Leah K.*

      What is the point of making vaccination mandatory and then allowing people to get a religious exemption? If you think that someone being unvaccinated poses a risk to other people, than how is it a reasonable accommodation to put EVERYONE ELSE at risk to allow this one person to remain unvaccinated?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        It’s required by federal law. But you can require that person to take other precautions — working in isolation, masking at all times, etc. (Not as ideal, obviously, but not the same as letting them roam around freely breathing on people.)

        1. anon for this*

          Removed because you cannot spread misinformation here. The vaccines significantly lower the risk of hospitalization or death to nearly zero.

          To answer your question: No, it’s not forever. It’s while we’re in the middle of a deadly pandemic. And yes, you have to make medical/religious exemptions clear to your employer because as a society we’ve decided that preventing more mass death trumps your discomfort with that.

          – Alison

          1. Former Hominid*

            “The majority of hospitalizations in a lot of locations now are people who are fully vaxxed.” This is untrue and misinformation. In areas where 80+ percent of people are vaccinated then yes, some chunk of those hospitalized with Covid-19 will be vaccinated. HOWEVER stats include folks who’ve had ONE jab and are only partially protected in the “vaccinated” category, and those who are vaccinated and get infected and hospitalized are almost to a person recovering and having a relatively mild illness (remember, “mild” covid is still awful) and not needing ventilators. In areas where vaccinations are not high- 99% of those hospitalized with covid are unvaccinated and suffering and dying. Including Children who cannot be jabbed at this time. Yeah- at least until kids can get the vaccine- you are gonna have to be isolated. Sorry. Develop better ethics.

          2. of course it's me*

            Your statement that “the majority of hospitalizations in a lot of locations now are people who are fully vaxxed” is heavily impacted by the base rate fallacy. In the U.S. the areas with high hospitalization rates have low vaccination rates full stop. You are likely referring to Iceland, where there is an extremely high vaccination rate, which means that, because just about everyone is vaccinated, anyone who is sick has probably been vaccinated. You are essentially making the argument that because everyone who has died skydiving has a parachute, that means parachutes don’t work. everything has some sort of a failure rate. The COVID vaccines work. Not perfectly, but they do work. I’m not saying that your legitimate religious concerns should not be honored. I’m just begging you not to participate in disinformation.

          3. KimberlyR*

            I live in a COVID hotspot in the US. Our local health system is doing a great job of keeping people informed. Here is yesterday’s update:
            “90% of our COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated. We have 18 COVID-19 patients in ICU and 15 of those are on a ventilator. All of those patients currently on a ventilator are unvaccinated.”
            153 Hospitalized
            138 Unvaccinated
            15 Vaccinated

            Facts trump unsubstantiated generalizations every time.

            1. Fergus The Llama Juggler*

              I work in a medical office that’s a part of a hospital and every single day since March 2020, the hospital sends out an email with the number of COVID patients that have been admitted. Since the beginning of August, they have been including the percentage of hospitalized patients that haven’t been vaccinated. I don’t think it’s ever gotten below 97%.

            2. fhqwhgads*

              Our county stats also frame it as “fully vaccinated” vs not, so the one-of-two-shots people are in the “not fully vaccinated” category, not inflating the number in the “vaccinated” category.
              Last I checked (sometime last week) it was something like 12 fully vaccinated people hospitalized vs 600 not fully vaccinated hospitalized.

        2. LRR*

          I work at a hospital, which is obviously going to be more strict, but if you use the religious or medical exemption, you have to get tested every 3 days, even non clinical positions.
          Plus, your religious leader has to sign with explanation why the vaccines are contrary to their beliefs, and it’s subject to approval. So is not just an easy out to claim an exemption.

          1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

            Plus, your religious leader has to sign with explanation why the vaccines are contrary to their beliefs, and it’s subject to approval. So is not just an easy out to claim an exemption.

            This part really doesn’t sit well with me. Protestantism operates on sola fide; not belonging to any congregation and not following a religious leader is not the same as not being of the faith.

            This is another criterion I don’t see faring well against a legal challenge.

            1. goducks*

              The EEOC has long had guidance for employers who have reason to doubt the legitimacy of a claim for religious accommodation. They’re allowed to ask reasonable questions about the faith and the employee’s faith path. Unfortunately, the idea that people will use fake religious beliefs as a get out of jail free card for a workplace requirement they simply don’t care for has been around for a long time. So, the guidance for how to address this is time-tested. Just because the covid vaccine itself is new, dealing with religious accommodations isn’t.

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                I’m pro-vaccination and anti-religious validation.

                8. Does an employer have to grant every request for accommodation of a religious belief or practice?
                No. Title VII requires employers to accommodate only those religious beliefs that are religious and “sincerely held,” and that can be accommodated without an undue hardship.

                Link in reply. I’m good with an employer claiming that (potentially) exposing another employee to Covid is an undue hardship and declining to waive the requirement or offering alternative requirements. I would expect that employer to act consistently with that statement.

                I’m not good with an employer saying “Your faith is not validated.”

                It may be a distinction without a difference to you, but after Covid becomes just another coronavirus, precedents set will remain, and I do not like opening the door that second statement does.

            2. automaticdoor*

              It sits fine with me morally, though I agree that it might not be legal. Frankly, if you are a member of a religion that is truly anti-vaccine, chances are you have a religious leader who will sign off on it. Generic “Protestants” are not anti-covid-vax by any actual religious doctrine–none of the US vaccines were derived from aborted stem cell lines, for example. They’re against it for political reasons and we all know it.

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                Re: Protestants. I was raised in a Protestant faith, so I have an understanding of how the faith works technically (theologically? mechanically? whatever the adverb I’m fumbling for is). It’d be irresponsible for me to speak of another branch of Christianity or another religion without that knowledge–but if sola fide is valid for Protestants, others can’t be held to more stringent standards if religions are being treated consistently.

              2. NotAnAntiVaxxer*

                I absolutely agree that it’s fine morally. However, unfortunately all 3 vaccines developed in the US did use PER.C6 or HEK 293 cells at some point in development. Obviously none of them contain aborted fetal tissue! And none of the cells are actually harvested from aborted material. But pfizer and moderna tested their vaccines on HEK 293 and Johnson & Johnson used PER.C6 in production. BUT! The heads of basically every major sect of Christianity and the Pope and the Vatican and most American Bishops agree that Pfizer and Moderna are acceptable even if you’re “pro-life”. So it really seems like the religious accommodation is to not require anyone get the J&J vaccine

            3. Quickbeam*

              The Christian Scientists wrote virtually all state and federal laws re: religious exemptions. Everyone else has dog piled on to these laws, many crafted almost a hundred years ago. They have, per their theology, a clear through line for an exemption. I think everyone else has to peach crate their feelings and desires into these laws.

              1. TinLizi*

                I was raised in Christian Science (no longer practicing). I had to get all my vaccination as an adult when I went to the doctor for the first time ever.

                Yes, Christian Scientists wrote most of these laws. There’s a fascinating Salon article called “Religious ignorance kills kids: How two Richard Nixon aides sneakily altered a law that still costs children’s lives” that does a great job explaining it.

                Because Christian Scientists wrote these laws, they contain language meant to privilege and exempt their church over others. Language like “certified practitioners,” which are what they call their faith healers.

                My grandmother is still one and I haven’t been able to get my family to vaccinate.

            4. nononon*

              It’s better established than you might think.

              I belong to a church that does not practice vaccination. Even pre-pandemic, when I was getting ready to go to college, the clerk of our church and the head of our Sunday School both had to submit signed letters to the college confirming that my family were church members and that I personally had been attending over a period of years before I could be allowed a religious exemption waiver. And yes, we are nominally Protestant, and yes, sola fide is in effect, but the college didn’t have to believe that.

              For covid, I would 100% believe that employers could be allowed to require evidence of established religious practice in order to accept a religious exemption.

              1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                It’s better established than you might think.

                Sounds like it.

                How does your college handle smaller denominations and faiths that don’t organize in a similar manner to Christianity?

        3. JM60*

          Reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs is required by law. IMO, an accommodation for someone else’s religious beliefs that would jeopardize my health is unreasonable.

      2. KHB*

        My local university has a vaccination requirement, with options for religious or medical exemptions. Out of curiosity, I looked up the religious-exemption form. One of the questions it asks is whether you’re religiously opposed to all vaccines, and if not, what’s different to you about the COVID vaccine? They clearly don’t want to let people cake-walk this.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          My organization is using the same form as if you are filing for a religious exemption to the seasonal flu shot (which is also required at my job). However I think the weekly testing requirement is meant at least in part to convince the reluctant or hesitant to go get their jabs.

          1. KHB*

            I’m all in favor of encouraging people to get vaccinated by any means possible, but I’m not really loving the idea of frequent testing as a punishment. Breakthrough cases being what they are, we should probably be testing everybody, vaccinated or not, a lot more frequently than we’re currently doing.

            1. e271828*

              Daily testing or even twice-daily would likely be the only way of catching an infectious non-symptomatic case. I have seen no reports of any organization doing dailies.

            2. Belle of the Midwest*

              I also work at a university, doing the same form as yours. I had already gotten my vaccines a month before the word came down about mandatory proof or exemption request, and had downloaded a picture of my card. They were asking people to submit these as my university has been on the forefront of helping the state collect data on vaccination rates across certain populations and groups. So I was all set when the mandate came down. Before my vaccines, I had to go to campus at random intervals for mitigation testing, which was annoying (I can’t spit on demand), but I saw it as another way they were trying to protect us rather than as a punishment.
              Now that our campus is open again, everyone is required to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, and they will be watching for reported outbreaks. They have talked about doing random mitigation testing again. We are hoping that our relatively low case numbers can continue and this academic year looks more normal than last year did.
              I do agree that we need to be doing more testing of vaccinated populations. My husband and I have been exposed to COVID twice since vaccination and our local CVS does the rapid results testing with a short nasal swab. I’d rather do that one than spit any day.

            3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              There was an exposure in a different dept – and they (employee health) tested the whole department. I won’t call my job perfect, but they do seem to be trying.

              (We’re also nationwide, and dealing with some misguided and determined pushback in “certain geographical regions” so I think some of the heavy-handedness is to try and convince them to vaccinate instead of dealing with all the testing. Oh, and employee health at each facility will gladly vaccinate you, give you proof for other venues, and also allowing paid time off separate from your PTO bank for getting the vaccine and side effects).

            4. Dr B Crusher*

              It’s not a punishment. It’s an eminently reasonable accommodation for those who will not or cannot be vaccinated, so that everyone around them is safer. A punishment would be, for example, fining them or pinching them or making them wear a clown suit or something.

      3. Where’s the Orchestra?*

        The organization I work for just put out their mandate Thursday of last week. Clock starting now, you have two months to provide proof of full vaccination (meaning you are two weeks past the last dose of your vaccine and are now considered fully vaccinated), medical waiver on file with employee health, religious waiver on file with employee health or you will be fired and ineligible for rehire.

        Right now everyone is wearing a mask all day (exception for meal breaks). They may go back to vaccinated employees may remove their masks, but we haven’t been given a timeline on that. However, all people who turn in exemption paperwork will be required to get weekly Covid tests (regardless of what type of exemption you have on file) and will not be allowed to take their masks off after vaccinated employees are given the all clear to again remove masks.

        It will be interesting to see how they go about implementing the policy – but so far they have said that employee health will be keeping all records and reporting to HR those that are not in compliance. The roll out itself was met with a lot of grumbling in my team from four people (who are the only four unvaccinated members of the team as well – coincidence, I think not).

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          Oh, and employee health will gladly give you your vaccine, and the organization is giving paid time to get the shot and recover if necessary as well.

          They may not have been perfect, but they seem to be genuinely trying to be as fair as possible.

        2. Loredena Frisealach*

          I’m wondering how to address instances where a card was lost. My spouse and I received our second vaccination on the day we had movers packing up our household to move cross country. In the chaos he lost his card and hasn’t been able to get a new copy. I’m half inclined to tell him to revaccinate!

    3. rl09*

      “unless you have a religious or medical exemption”

      My company used this language as well, and the “religious exemption” is just a loophole for anybody who doesn’t actually have a valid reason to not get vaccinated. There are no major religions that do not allow vaccines, so I’d be very curious about what “religion” these people belong to – other than just worshipping themselves.

      1. stefanielaine*

        A good friend of mine works at a place whose vaccination exemption policy includes the phrase “Religious exemptions will be subject to review by religious scholars.” JEALOUS.

      2. anon for this*

        Removed. I will not have you spreading misinformation on vaccines here. Move on from this post, please. Final warning.

        Updated to add: You ignored the final warning and are now banned.

        1. Cat Lover*

          You know literally over a million of people have died right? That’s not pro-life.

          Also the J&J vaccine does NOT use aborted fetal cells. That’s a myth. While the vaccine uses lab-replicated fetal cells (known as fetal cell lines) during its production process, the vaccine itself does not contain any fetal cells.

          PLEASE, I’m begging you, learn something. Lies that are spread like this are dangerous.

          1. of course it's me*

            The development process of almost all medical care involved cell lines, animal experimentation, or both. If one is refusing things developed in this way, one should probably avoid *all* science-based medical care. There is now better evidence for the recommended childhood vaccine schedule than literally any other part of pediatric practice (billions of data points from all over the world).

            If one doesn’t “believe” in vaccines, or feels vaccines are unethical due to their development, there’s no logical reason to seek medical care that involves any pharmaceutical (almost certainly has less supporting data than childhood vaccines, and almost certainly was also developed on cell lines, animal models, or both), any device (tested in animals first, has less data than vaccines), or any surgical procedure (also usually tested on animals first and has less data than vaccines).

            1. Rachel*

              The development process of almost all medical care involved cell lines, animal experimentation, or both. If one is refusing things developed in this way, one should probably avoid *all* science-based medical care.

              Just repeating this because it is so misunderstood. Cells from one human embryonic kidney in the ’70s have divided and replicated an infinite number of times to drive almost all scientific research since then. If an immortal cell line saving millions of lives via research isn’t pro-life, I don’t know what is.

        2. Bex*

          The pope has been vaccinated and has repeatedly endorsed vaccines, even saying that “I believe that morally everyone must take the vaccine, it is the moral choice because it is about your life but also the lives of others.”

          1. anon for this*

            For vaccines like the MMR without an ethical alternative, they tell you to take the vaccine because, on balance, it saves lives. However, in this case, they would say do Moderna / Pfizer over Johnson and Johnson because it provides and ethical alternative.

            1. of course it's me*

              literally all of medicine has a potentially ethically troubling background, see my comment above. Why does this concern disproportionately come up for vaccines?

              1. quill*

                Because it became part of the politicization of abortion back in the 70’s, but also because vaccines are something EVERYONE is supposed to get, so there’s more opportunity for people to complain.

              2. introverted af*

                Because vaccines are preventative, and so it’s easier to displace the risk from yourself to future self, and what risks you accept or not is a deeply personal decision (although obviously you are still a person in a society with responsibility to others, and your risk here does not just affect you like your decision to wear a seat belt might).

                Also, I think if you were to use this argument with someone against vaccines it would be very unconvincing unless you do also care and spend time on other issues with troubling ethical backgrounds.

                (And I say all this as a vaccinated, deeply religious person).

                1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

                  I want to quibble a bit with “ your risk here does not just affect you like your decision to wear a seat belt might.” In an automobile accident the decision to not wear a seatbelt does affect any other person in your vehicle, because you become in more severe accidents an unrestrained object flying about in the cabin that can impact and injure other passengers. This is why seatbelts are mandated by law, and why the airlines ask you to keep your seatbelt on while seated, because it prevents injury or death to the people around you.

                  The same logic has been used when crafting any major mandate, the small imposition on the individual helps promote health and safety for the larger societal group. This is especially true today of vaccine mandates, because the necessary level of vaccination to prevent widespread transmission and mutation is based on the R0 (r-naught) of any illness, and Covid has a very high R0 (cannot remember the actual level, and am currently on a mobile).

                  I will get off my soapbox now.

                2. introverted af*

                  Where’s the Orchestra, you’re right that it’s not a perfect metaphor. But it’s a lot closer than other things I could think of, and you have a decent amount of choice about getting into a car/driving with someone who refuses to wear a seatbelt. If you have a better suggestion, I would love to have it in my back pocket.

                  (as an aside, my mom recently told me that she was just against the government mandating seatbelts when that happened because “it’s not the government’s job to tell me how to keep myself safe like that.” Just, a mind-blowing amount of libertarianism in that that I was previously unaware of.)

              3. Splendid Colors*

                It’s hard to beat the “ethically troubling background” of pretty much any gynecological exam or procedure: they were developed on enslaved Black women without consent, and without anesthesia for procedures we would not even think of doing on an unanesthetized person.

                Likewise, anything developed with HeLa cell lines: I honestly think what they did to Henrietta Lacks (not just the cells, but the medical neglect) is far worse than fetal cell lines because she was a living, breathing adult human who should have had informed consent for her treatment (and use of the cell cultures).

                None of us are without sin who consume science-based medical care. Yet NOT using it, and allowing suffering and death, seems a larger sin. (Sin in a metaphorical sense–as a UU I don’t believe in “sin” in the Catholic sense.)

      3. LQ*

        I like the places that are doing vaccinate or test. No exemptions. Or you’d have to prove you needed an exemption to both I suppose but that’s a high high hill to climb and they are not advertising the exemption, they are just saying no. You have a choice.

      4. introverted af*

        Many people have religious beliefs outside of organized religious institutions or are part of more local groups that advocate against vaccinations for whatever reason.

        I’m vaccinated, and I totally get the frustrations that people SHOULD get vaccinated at this point, and that these kind of exemptions get abused (see: an article in my local paper about parents trying to get doctor’s notes exempting their child from masking in school). But I’m also religious, and I do not have the mandate to speak for what is allowed or not of people in my religion, let alone any other religion. I think it’s taking it too far to say the only way you get to being religiously concerned about the COVID vaccine is to worship yourself.

      5. JessaB*

        I believe Christian Scientists, the Amish, Jehovah’s Witnesses and possibly (I am totally not sure,) Nazarenes, are well known for objections to certain medical procedures

        1. rl09*

          Yes, but collectively those organizations combined make up less than 1% of the total US population. If more than 1-2% of your workplace is claiming a religious exemption, that seems…questionable.

          1. Mstr*

            Most workplaces aren’t so large that it’s going to be distributed this evenly. Every place has local communities where certain religions are most popular. Like Utah has a huge Mormon population, others will be most dense with The religions who are anti-vaccine. But of course religious exemptions should be restricted to the truly religious.

            1. Splendid Colors*

              Sure, Amish Country is a thing. But the other groups are still small enough that you would need to have a very small town with a very large local congregation of an anti-medicine faith to have disproportionate numbers of anti-medicine-faith-members in one company. (Unless a particular workplace either has some characteristic that makes it attractive to them or one person got in and recommended a bunch of fellow churchgoers.)

              So it’s not impossible but the probability is fairly low.

              I’m pretty sure that this wouldn’t be the case if, say, Marin County had a lot of vaccine refusals. The folks there who oppose vaccination (and result in childhood disease outbreaks) aren’t members of CS, JW, etc. They’re just conspiracy theory dupes.

      6. TinLizi*

        Unfortunately, there are religions that don’t encourage vaccines. I was raised (and have left) Christian Science. Their members don’t get vaccines or often any medical care. There is one exception. If it is required by law, they will generally do it, unless they can get a waiver. Christian Scientists are big on obeying the exact letter of the law.

        1. rl09*

          Right, I understand there are smaller organizations that have always been against certain types of medicine. However, I find it very hard to believe that suddenly 30% of the US population is claiming to belong to one of these organizations.

          Using your own example, there are only 900 Christian Scientists in the US. That number is not nearly large enough to explain why a huge percentage of Americans suddenly have a “religious exemption.”

      7. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        There are half a dozen states whose laws requiring vaccination for school attendance have no religious/philosophical exemption, only medical exemptions. There’s also Supreme Court precedent for the government requiring adults to be vaccinated (at the time, the fight was over smallpox vaccination).

        1. Mannequin*

          I really wish ‘no religious/philosophical exceptions on vaccines” was FEDERAL law.

          This is a matter of public health, and needs to be left to public health officials, not religious opinion. Besides, religious freedom is like every other freedom- it ends at the point it causes harm to others.

    4. TheMonkey*

      “Disciplinary action up to and including termination” is the stated consequence here. Deadline is Aug 30, so we’ll see what happens.

    5. Elenna*

      “I have many friends who insist that they can’t be fired for simply refusing to get the vaccine.”

      Uh… IANAL, but doesn’t Allison always say that at-will employment means employers can fire you for anything they want except for being a member of a protected class? I highly doubt “not being vaccinated” is a protected class.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        The EEOC has explicitly said you can be fired for refusing to be vaxxed, subject to the normal medical/religious accommodation requirements.

        1. bunniferous*

          The paperwork I got when I got my first shot STRESSED that the vaccine was not FDA approved. I seem to recall that until it is, it is illegal to mandate the vaccine. But having said that, I assume at-will employers can do so regardless? I’m uncomfortable both with and without the vax right now tbh but my job doesn’t require it. I’m more than happy to mask up and I will feel better once full approval by the FDA happens.

          1. quill*

            IIRC the FDA emergency authorization has been in place for a while. Unfortunately FDA approval takes years (due to the need for long term studies – which generally don’t test safety so much as length of immunity, need for boosters, tc) so I would encourage you to get vaccinated quickly, the wait will be long and dangerous otherwise.

            1. It’s Super Anon!*

              Actually, I read recently (like within the last week or so as I was research which shot was the best to get before going to get my first shot) that Pfizer has submitted all the paperwork to get their vaccine FDA approved by 2022 but that the FDA is hoping to have it done within 2 months or so. Moderna, OTOH, has submitted some paperwork but not all, IIRC, but the FDA is hoping to get Moderna approved as well within a couple of months if they submit all of their paperwork as well.

              1. Howard Bannister*

                Yeah, the long delay is usually because it takes time to gather this data; the thing about a pandemic is that vaccinated people are getting exposed to the virus a lot, which is giving us a lot of information. And we’ve vaccinated a lot of people at speed, also giving us a lot of data. That’s sped up the data collection part of getting to full approval.

                1. It’s Super Anon!*

                  From what I recall (and bear in mind this was after a LOT of reading), they said the FDA was basically going to work 24/7 to get the vaccines approved in that time period so that more people would be willing to get the shot, because there’s a hesitancy with it being EUA for some people.

                  I did a ton of research on which vaccine to get and went with Moderna, and I signed up for the government’s V-Safe site and have had daily check-ins since my vaccination to report any side effects. I think that’s a handy tool and that everyone who gets the shot should sign up for it for the research side of it.

                2. Nesprin*

                  Fyi a typical fda application is enormous- one i saw was a stack of paper ~90ft tall. Getting that much documentation processed and reviewed takes time.

          2. The Dude Abides*

            As of today, no it is not illegal for a company to mandate the vaccine. Multiple groups of employees have filed lawsuits and they have been dismissed.

            I have a toddler at home, who is around elderly people almost every day and will be starting preschool next month (where masking is mandatory). I will feel better once the jagoffs among the population realize that we live in a fucking society and not a bunch of silos. I’m not holding my breath.

            1. Splendid Colors*

              My landlord won’t even enforce mask mandates now that the County has said “Everyone mask up indoors again!” and their desk clerk (and security contractors) do not consistently mask. I have no idea what their position is on vaccination.

          3. RabbitRabbit*

            All states in the US are at-will (barring Montana) for employment and very few people have actual contracts.

            The EEOC’s guidance on the legality of firing employees for not being vaccinated vs COVID-19 came out in late May. Meanwhile, Pfizer has filed for full FDA approval status and I’m assuming Moderna will shortly if they haven’t already.

            1. It’s Super Anon!*

              Moderna has filed some paperwork but not all. As I recall from the article I read, the FDA is hopeful to get full approval within a couple of months as opposed to by 2022 which was the original plan.

          4. BRR*

            Previous thinking was that it might be on shaky legal ground to require vaccine while they were under emergency use authorization but recent court rulings have said employers can require vaccines while under emergency authorization.

    6. Richard Hershberger*

      My prediction: the “religious exemption” will be a battleship-sized loophole. There have all along been a few sects that refuse vaccination on doctrinal grounds, but they have been pretty marginal: small enough not to really matter in the big picture. A bunch of Evangelical Protestants are going to suddenly discover a deeply held religious objection to vaccinations, even if two years ago they and their kids were current on their shots. This doctrinal flexibility is nothing new. It was just forty years ago when Evangelicals discovered that abortion is the biggest sin possible, and indeed bigger than all other sins combined. Prior to about 1980 they regarded being anti-abortion as a weird Catholic thing.

      1. Marny*

        My workplace has imposed “show proof of vaccination or you will have to submit a negative COVID test every week.” I’m guessing the hope is that the constant testing will be such a hassle that people will either get the vaxxed or quit. And that does away with any of the religious arguments.

        1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

          My workplace has that weekly testing included for all employees who have an exemption on file, regardless of type of exemption (so those filing religious exemptions can’t claim they are being discriminated against). Tests are supposed to be files with employee health as well. All employees are back in masks at moment, but when we get to take them back off people with exemptions on file again will have to stay fully masked as well.
          Will be interesting to see how all of this shakes out in approximately seven weeks when it goes into full effect.

        2. PT*

          The CARES act provisions that required COVID testing and COVID hospitalization to be free has expired. Employers aren’t required to foot the bill for mandatory weekly COVID tests. So if you refuse to be vaccinated and you have to take weekly tests with no medical code for symptoms/exposure, you could end up with a hefty out of pocket bill, depending on your insurance.

          1. It’s Super Anon!*

            My insurance is still paying at 100% of covid testing. I was just tested a week and a half ago for covid and paid nothing.

          2. Where’s the Orchestra?*

            In my case – employee health is willing to do the testing for you, or you can go to any place that does the testing.

          3. Free Meerkats*

            I’ll let employment attorney Jon Hyman explain:

            “EEOC guidance strongly suggests that the ADA requires employers to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing. The EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance on Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations of Employees Under the ADA provides that an employer must pay for all medical exam related costs when an employer requires the examination because the employer reasonably believes the employee poses a ‘direct threat.’”

            Here’s a link to the EEOC guidance:

          4. Bee*

            Can you share your source that the CARES act provisions expired? I understood that CARES requires 100% coverage for Covid-19 tests during the federal emergency as defined by HHS, which was renewed last month.

        3. miss chevious*

          My workplace is requiring the test AND constant masking for all unvaccinated employees. Vaccinated employees are masking indoors now as well, due to an increase in cases locally, but that wasn’t the case until recently.

      2. Belle of the Midwest*

        someone said upthread that one of the questions on their workplace’s exemption form was, “do you object to ALL vaccines or just this one?” or something similar. It’s not just a checkbox.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          Sure. But just because they didn’t object to all vaccines a couple of years ago doesn’t mean that they still don’t, or that they will acknowledge, even to themselves, that this is a new feature of their religious belief system. That’s what the memory hole is for. Just ask Evangelicals about their church’s teachings on abortion back in the 1970s. Even those old enough to have been there will most likely find the truth incredible, in this “I don’t believe this” sense of the word.

      3. some dude*

        My understanding is that in California they had to make the religious exception to vaccines much more stringent recently because a lot of woo wellness folks were deciding not to vaccinate their spawn for Reasons, thus leading to outbreaks of things like the measles in tony areas.

        1. Splendid Colors*

          You are correct. There was a ballot initiative (because California) and the doctor leading the campaign to close exemptions was getting lots of death threats.

    7. The Original K.*

      I have many friends who insist that they can’t be fired for simply refusing to get the vaccine. I fear they may find out the hard way that they are wrong. I imagine that my employer along with many others did their due diligence from a legal standpoint before making vaccinations a requirement.
      At my friend’s employer, the “get vaccinated by x date or you’ll be fired” edict came down from senior management AND the legal team itself. My friend (who is pro-vaccine and fully vaccinated) described it as “legal-ese for ‘f*ck around and find out.'” Someone I follow on social media (so, grain of salt) posted that her employer had indeed fired those who refused to get the vaccine and when she did, a lot of people chimed in and said that their employer either had fired people or had plans in place to fire people who refused to be vaccinated.

      I would assume someone who refused to get the vaccine wouldn’t be able to get unemployment since they’d have been fired for cause, but I’m not a lawyer or HR person.

      1. KaciHall*

        I’m so jealous of employers like this. We’ve been back in the office since last July. My boss regularly talks about vaccine conspiracies. The owner told us that we could avoid getting sick by constantly drinking water so the virus is washed into our stomach where the acid will kill it. I haven’t let anyone know I got the vaccine because I’m worried about the reaction.

        I’m just so tired.

        1. ErinWV*

          LOL, I remember when the “wash the virus into your stomach” advice was first going around! See also: you don’t have COVID if you can hold your breath for 10 seconds without coughing.

          Do you all think someday they will discover a cure for cancer and half the population won’t want it?

          1. GS*

            The one current cancer vaccine I know about, for HPV, is definitely being rejected by folks both for themselves and their kids.

          1. Filosofickle*

            Ha, I used brackets and that unintentional code deleted my comment. What I was trying to say was this makes my head explode.

        2. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

          With you on the tired thing. Although I did fire someone a few months ago for coming out with ridiculous vaccine and Covid conspiracy stuff (FYI not a good thing to say to your boss who has multiple degrees in virology).

          There’s a few, very vocal on the company forums, people at work at other locations in the country and different jobs to mine who are adamant that they’ll get the unions involved if they’re told to get vaccinated. Ideas of shutting down our entire industry because one engineer believes vaccines are harmful are frequent on their subforums. I’ve got one member of staff who for medical reasons cannot be vaccinated and I’m doing my best to protect her – it annoys me that people aren’t prepared to put in the same effort .

      2. Tiffany Aching*

        My workplace mandated the vaccine, with religious or medical exemptions allowed, and we definitely let people go over it. We denied some exemptions that were clearly not in good faith, and those people either quit or were let go. We also had folks who said they were vaccinated, but failed to provide the information to us by the deadline (literally just logging into the same portal where they record hours, and specifying the manufacturer and date(s)), and we terminated them too.

    8. WantonSeedStitch*

      We may be at the same large employer. I am curious about this as well. I wonder if some of them will have to work remotely if it’s possible for them, or get fired if it’s not.

      1. SLR*

        Hi fellow Masshole!! :) Yes I was wondering that same exact thing. If they would allow people who don’t wish to be vaccinated to work remotely permanently as long as their role can be done remotely. One of my friends wants to try that angle with her employer, she says she has no intention of being vaccinated at this time and her job can be done remotely as it is a call center type position and she’s trying to see if they will just allow her to work remotely permanently even though she is not vaccinated. I tried to explain to her that there would likely be instances where she would need to go to the office in person, like important meetings, trainings, performance reviews, Etc. I know people who talk a big game but I think a lot of people are going to find out the hard way that it is what it is and they need to get vaxxed or go elsewhere where it’s not a requirement.

        1. Irish girl*

          Allowing unvaccinated to work remotely and requiring others come into the office is going to run afoul of people. She should ask about remote work without talk of the vaccine. If the person has a medical exemption and cant get the vaccine and needs to WFH that could be seen as a ADA accommodation.

    9. Irish girl*

      My husband’s company required it an will not allow them to work if they don’t have it. As a customer facing business there is no remote option for them. If they can’t work they don’t get paid. Not a firing but still just as impactful. Texas already had a case that tested firing over it and it stood up in court and those people did get fired.

    10. Sarah in Boston*

      Another large MA company employee here: we just mandated that to enter any building you must be 2 weeks past your second shot as of August 30th. Failing that you will be placed on unpaid leave (strongly implying but not stating that you can only be unpaid on leave for so long before goodbye). That policy will be applied to other locations as local laws allow but we’re starting with MA because headquarters and the most number of employees. All exemptions will handled on a case by case basis at a VP-ish level.

  5. WendyRoo*

    This is going to be such a mess when they start rolling out boosters. Just keeping track of everyone’s vaccination dates and getting the boosters on time will be a nightmare… I’m so tired of the CDC giving half-baked guidance with zero communication with state/local officials on how to actually implement these policies.

    1. LTL*

      Currently they’re talking about boosters 8 months post-vaccination. Providing an updated vaccination card twice a year doesn’t seem like a big deal.

      1. RabbitRabbit*

        Same. My employer already requires the influenza vaccine (and has since H1N1), so it’s just part of the process at this point.

        1. Aggretsuko*

          My employer required full on vax card uploading, but the required flu shot was uh…honor system entirely. I asked my HMO about getting proof and they told me how, but the job didn’t even ask for that proof.

          1. RabbitRabbit*

            They were serious about the flu shot even for WFH employees. We had to either get it at Employee Health, or send a copy of the documentation to Employee Health.

            1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

              That’s how my employer handles required flu shots as well. I think what may happen with the Covid shot requirements when boosters modified for variants comes thru will be similar.

      2. quill*

        I was vaccinated in February, so we’ll see if there’s even a consensus on who, besides the immunocompromised, is qualified for a booster by October. My workplace required a photocopy of my vaccination card, but as an incentive based process: I dunno if all the cafeteria killroys are vaccinated and what the company would do if they weren’t.

    2. Velawciraptor*

      What you’re seeing as half-baked is often the result of seeing the scientific process play out in real-time. Science and scientifically-based advice isn’t word of God handed down on stone tablets. It’s identifying a problem, hypothesizing about a solution, experimenting, analyzing results, reaching a conclusion. Rinse and repeat. As time passes and more evidence accumulates, the scientific consensus will change. The process is messy and things can be fluid, but that doesn’t mean people, including the CDC, aren’t doing their best with the information on hand.

      1. I Hate Florida Man*

        Yes, exactly! At least the CDC guidelines are being updated when data, or the understanding of the data, changes. Unfortunately, the last several decades of undermining the US educational system has produced a bumper crop of adults who never learned how science works, and don’t know what it looks like when it’s done right.

        It’s easy to believe that something doesn’t work when you’ve never actually learned that it does work.

      2. quill*

        Yeah, I have plenty of sympathy for change but very little left for political optimism / economic desparation (let’s let everyone who vaccinated not mask all summer, as a treat! What do you mean, there’s a bunch of liars involved?) that’s been driving the public guidelines’ timing.

      3. Esmeralda*


        I saw a good analogy: You are on a plane, and the seat belt sign is turned off. Just as you’re getting up to stretch your legs, there’s turbulence and the seat belt sign comes back on. The pilot is not being half-baked and changing her mind for no reason; she got new information/conditions changed, and so she turned on the sign so that people would sit down, buckle up, and be safer.

        Same thing with changing messages from CDC etc: conditions change, information comes in, and a decision is made based on that.

    3. lost academic*

      We keep track of a LOT more vaccinations than that for kids. Take a look at all the standard vaccinations for small children. This is nothing. It’s 2, soon to be 3 dates. It is exactly as complicated as the standard Hepatitis B vaccine.

    4. some dude*

      I have to have a record of all my kid’s vaccinations every year for school and for any of their extracurricular activities. I don’t imagine this will be much different. I’m interested to see how New York and SF fare with requiring vaccines to eat indoors and go to concerts. I’m sure it will be a bit of a mess for a few weeks and then they’ll sort it out. I think it is a worthwhile hassle to drastically reduce the possibility of spreading a disease that has literally shut down the planet,

  6. Lore*

    My employer is requiring proof to be onsite. They set up a way to upload your card or QR code to the HR portal and they won’t reactivate your building ID until your proof is there. (It’s the same portal where you can view pay stubs so reasonably secure.) Anyone who doesn’t want to show proof will remain remote. (And return to the office remains totally voluntary at this point.)

    1. anne of mean gables*

      Here is what I am struggling with as our office returns to in-person (was supposed to be post-Labor Day, I’m pretty sure that is a pipe dream at this point). I would describe our department in the last 18 months as “functional, but not optimally so” – I think we need at least some overlapping in-person time to function optimally.
      That said, there’s a significant minority who never want to step foot in the office again. While I respect where they’re coming from…I think they’re wrong. It is absolutely harder to get some things done remotely, and those things are part of this group’s duties. I am 95% confident they are refusing to get vaccinated (ARGH) as a bargaining chip so they cannot come back to the office, and I find that immensely frustrating. Luckily I am just low-level enough leadership that I don’t have to directly interface with this, or make these decisions, but I’m infuriated that (some of) my colleagues are putting our community’s health at risk and making my work-life harder in one fell swoop – but I also don’t see a way around it!

    2. Mannheim Steamroller*

      “Anyone who doesn’t want to show proof will remain remote.”

      How many employees will pretend to not be vaccinated, or actually not get vaccinated, just to remain remote full-time? (“Sorry, boss, I’m not vaccinated, so you have to let me work from home.”)

      1. Lore*

        Anyone who wants to remain full time remote for any reason can do that and divulge nothing about their vaccination status. This is only for people who want to come to the office (which varies a lot department to department and role to role). You won’t be able to enter the building, even to pick up stuff from your desk, after September 13 without proof of vaccination.

    3. Belle of the Midwest*

      My workplace said that employees could not use “working 100% remote” as a reason not to get vaccinated.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Mine too — even remote employees are expected to be able to attend onsite meetings if requested, which means vaccine required.

  7. Teapot Repair Technician*

    Is there anything an office can do to actually enforce a vaccine mandate? At my office we were asked to compete a Google form to answer “Are you vaccinated? Y/N” and that was it.

    Even if they asked for proof, the only “proof” I have is an easily forgeable card.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      They can require proof, make it clear they’ll fire anyone who provides forged paperwork, and fire anyone who isn’t vaccinated and doesn’t have a legitimate religious or medical exemption that qualifies under federal law.

      1. Teapot Repair Technician*

        I would never commit forgery, yet I somehow feel guilty of that crime whenever I see my vax card which looks like it was made on a laser printer and is filled out in my own handwriting.

    2. Lore*

      My office has deactivated all IDs and will only reactivate two business days after your vaccine proof has been uploaded to the HR portal. I don’t know who’s checking the documentation so I guess someone could submit a forged card and hope it gets accepted, but no one is required to come in for now so I’m not sure who would bother.

    3. LimeRoos*

      My company is requiring you e-mail a pic of your vaccination card to a secure internal e-mail address, so that’s pretty enforceable. Of course, anyone who doesn’t get the vaccine is being allowed to work from home, and if they do need to go in, they’re working with their managers and HR. Not sure what’s going to come out of those conversations, but we’re only in phase one with a few people going back in and phases two and three are pending once they get more information on who is vaxxed.

    4. Cat Tree*

      Most documents are easily forgivable, but most people still don’t forge them, even anti-vaxxers and Covidiots. I don’t think forgery is necessarily a bigger concern here than in other situations, in that it is a real but small issue for basically everything.

    5. Amy*

      Everyone had my company needs to have their card uploaded to a portal that’s specific to Covid. If you don’t have it in or have a waiver by August 30th, they will start the termination process.

    6. RabbitRabbit*

      You might be surprised. My state’s Department of Health has records of my COVID vaccinations, plus the sole influenza vaccine that I got at a chain pharmacy (the others I all got at Employee Health at the hospital I work at). They had announced their own version of a “vax passport” or whatever it is, so I signed up and that’s already there.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yep – I believe our submitted records can be verified against the state’s DOH records to some degree. At least, I know that our employee health report about my direct reports who still hadn’t submitted their vax status specified two of my team members who hadn’t submitted their attestation yet showed some vaccine activity on the DOH portal – on checking with them, one had gotten their first shot and was scheduled for their second, the other was done but hadn’t attested yet because they thought it would upload to the employee health system automatically.

    7. Esmeralda*

      My University is not requiring vaccination, although unvaxxed students and employees must be tested weekly.

      They are validating suspicious uploaded vax cards against vax database. Students who submit fraudulent cards can be sanctioned, including being kicked out of the U. Employees could be fired. Interestingly, only a few fraudulent cards found so far out of several thousand submitted.

  8. HR Exec Popping In*

    Companies are really struggling with this. It seems like the vast majority of employees want proof of vaccination prior to reopening offices but the rest are very resistant to an employer requiring it. And then you have to take into account your essential workers who have been working onsite this whole time without needing proof of vaccination and 3rd party contractors. But it seems like every day more and more organizations are coming out with this being a requirement to return.

    So if you go with requiring the vaccination and you know whom you are requiring it for and how you will validate, the final question is what are the consequences. And this can very depending on the type of employee. For essential workers who have to be onsite, it likely would require termination. For non-essential workers that can work remotely, maybe you allow them to continue to work remotely and not come onsite without vaccination for the time being.

    The truth is everyone is trying their best, and there are no “answers” on what is best.

    1. mediamaven*

      I agree. We all really thought we’ve be turning a corner at this point and adopted policies based on that. Now we have to figure out new policies. It’s tough.

  9. Anon and on an on*

    This question makes me wonder how much of an outlier my company is.
    Does anyone else have a “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy?
    That’s what we have.
    I find it curious that my company’s official word is no word at all.
    Anyone else like this?

    1. anon for this*

      Ours was like that, but they abruptly reversed course 10 days ago. The mandate went into effect immediately and they’re still trying to figure out the verification process (so it’s a weird limbo) and what the exemption policy it. It’s a hot mess.

    2. Teapot Repair Technician*

      My company asks, but doesn’t ask for proof. Unvaccinated people have to wear masks, but no one here is wearing one, so I gather that rule is unenforced. Effectively it’s the same result as don’t ask/don’t tell.

    3. should i apply?*

      So far my company is on a “honor system” basically you sign a paper saying that you have been vaccinated. For a about a month those that were vaccinated were allowed to work without masks, and those that weren’t were supposed to wear them but no one was checking. Now with Delta we are back to everyone who is in the office must wear a mask.

    4. a seyssel*

      Mine is neutral, but it’s a big corporation, so I assume the real policy is to follow local regulations, rather than attempt to craft a one-size-fits-all policy for all levels of employees in all departments at all locations around the world.

      1. Anon and on an on*

        That is a very significant/interesting point. Mine, too. Thanks for offering this.

      2. Hillary*

        Same. My employer’s trying to follow regulations in 10+ states and 15+ companies for DCs, factories, and offices with a broad mix of demographics. The official guidance from corporate is to follow local guidance for your site. The local HS&E people all deserve raises and an extra month off.

    5. nora*

      My department at a large research university has a don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t assume policy regarding vaccination status. I do think most of us are vaccinated. And there isn’t a lot of resistance to the precautions like masking and distance. I think it’s more due to the fact my team is full of WASPy Midwesterners who are very into not revealing anything about themselves at work and very into privacy.

    6. Pointy's in the North Tower*

      We have a state law that prohibits requiring a Covid vaccine and an executive order banning state agencies from requiring masks. My agency hasn’t said anything about vaccinations or masks because of it. Because personal accountability has clearly worked so well. /s

  10. Zephy*

    My workplace is requiring staff to be vaccinated by mid-September. They’re allowing medical, religious, and “sincerely-held belief” exemptions, but people opting for that exemption have to be masked and distanced and get tested 2x weekly. I’ll believe it when I see it, honestly, since we also basically had a Google form asking “u vaxed bro? y/n” without having to show any actual proof. I am vaxed and prepared to show my card to anyone who wants to see it, but the company seems to be all talk and no action at this point, and also my boss thinks this move is more to kill WFH than anything else.

  11. Former Hominid*

    If your medical issues genuinely, as diagnosed by a doctor with an MD or OD after their name and not a naturopath or a homeopath, GENUINELY preclude a vaccination- as some of my online friends with MG have encountered. Then your doctor will be able to give you documentation and paperwork that I assume would go to HR (that’s what my friend did) in order to give you the ADA accommodations that will protect you from others, and others from you. One of my friends basically got a “work from home forever” exemption, the other one got the vaccine mandate/mask rules tightened at their workplace, as someone unvaccinated could kill them. You should talk to your doctor.

  12. joriley*

    For LW#3 (‘Can I ask to meet co-workers in person without making them feel uncomfortable?’) another way to approach this is to let the person you’re meeting with choose. I’m back in the office now, but many of the people I work with are in another building, which seems like it’s similar to the LW’s situation. I often say something like “Would you prefer Zoom or in-person? I’m on site today, so either is fine with me!”

    That lets them opt out for any number of reasons: health concerns, scheduling reasons, not wanting to walk to your office, they spilled soup on their pants and don’t want to be seen in person, etc. (For example, I recently Zoomed with a colleague because it was really hot outside and neither of us wanted to walk to the other’s building.)

    1. Amaranth*

      Do you offer your vax status when making the invite, or do your coworkers ask? I’m just wondering if people will feel comfortable doing those kind of ‘screenings’ with coworkers or managers ahead of meeting up, or if they enter a room, see no mask and do a 180.

      1. joriley*

        My office requires both vaccinations and indoor masks (regardless of vaccine status), so it’s a non-issue here.

      2. I'm just here for the cats*

        Masks are expected inside at my workplace. But I’ve been scheduling (in person) meetings for folx in our office and a few people have asked that masks be worn. It’s just something like
        “we ask everyone to wear a mask in our department, so please let everyone know.”

  13. Mannheim Steamroller*


    Bosses want people in the office because they can’t micromanage their staff remotely.

    1. BayCay*

      Generally, I agree with this. But until this incident, my boss has been very flexible. That’s why her response was very out of left field and confusing for me, given how her management style over the last 18 months. We did just get a new grandboss so, as Alison mentioned, it could be that she wants to look good for grandboss and is nervous about not having us in her sight while he’s getting settled. Is that kind of BS reasoning? I think so. But that could be where her head is at.

        1. A Person*

          I’m willing to bet money on the fact that it’s about your boss’ new boss. Who knows what he thinks? Who knows what she thinks of him? Is he reasonable? Is he a jerk?

          I can see her not wanting to push back against him right away, and I can also see her not knowing how to express any of that to you in an appropriate/acceptable fashion. AND I agree with your frustration, and I’m really glad that the company I’m contracting with right now is being a at the forefront of “large companies who are doing it right”.

  14. I Hate Florida Man*

    I am insanely frustrated with my company, which handled the pandemic very well for the first year, and has mostly screwed around (and up) since early summer. We’re in one of the worst Covid zones in the world, one of our unvaccinated staff recently tested positive, and the exec who shot down our mask policy (because “you know there’s a global debate going on about how effective masks and vaccines are” * ) now wants to believe that it’s a false positive, because the person “feels fine”.

    Oh, and I’m not supposed to talk about awkward things like Covid, masks, and vaccination, because it makes people “uncomfortable”.

    * Yep, those very words. I’m not sure which Kool-aid he’s been drinking is, but he’s definitely past saving.

    1. Elenna*

      “you know there’s a global debate going on about how effective masks and vaccines are”

      “Oh, really! I didn’t know that, can you send me some scientific articles about it?” *look of wide-eyed innocence*

      Probably wouldn’t actually work but it’s fun to think about.

      1. PT*

        You’d just get a barrage of terrible links to Breitbart and Mercola and all of the quackery downstream from them.

        1. I Really Hate Florida Man*

          Pretty much. I’ve already been around the Kool-aid cart with him once on a different topic, and I ain’t going there again.

      2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Probably wouldn’t actually work but it’s fun to think about.

        In general, I wouldn’t recommend engaging crazy. You’re just giving it a platform and an audience.

    2. HigherEdAdminista*

      Sending solidarity. I am honestly so sick of hearing about the comfort of conspiracy theorists and people spreading or willfully clinging to misinformation. My comfort doesn’t concern them in the slightest, but I have to risk my safety for theirs? I honestly wish them all as much discomfort as possible every, single day.

    3. some dude*

      The masks don’t work thing is baffling to me. Like, surgeons wear masks. Dentists wear masks. If they were ineffective at preventing the spread of disease, why would they wear them?

  15. GarlicMicrowaver*

    I work for a health system and it is now mandated for us. Out of our 4,000 employees, so far one resigned over this mandate.

    The list of exemptions is EXTREMELY limited and must be passed through a review board. Same goes for “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

    We are making it extremely inconvenient for people who approved to opt out of the vaccine- weekly COVID testing with proof, masking, isolation, etc.

  16. drpuma*

    OP3, if you truly just want a quick meet and greet with your new colleagues, invite them to go for a walk! “I’m in the office today too, let me know if you’d like to stretch your legs with a quick walk around the block / parking lot.” I bet lots of folks would feel more comfortable chatting outside.

  17. Public Sector Manager*

    I work for a state agency and our official policy is show proof of a vaccine or get tested weekly. With Delta numbers increasing, our return to work date of September has been pushed back. When we do return to the office, we’re going to have a remote work option of up to 24-32 hours per week (final number of hours TBA). About 75% of us want a hybrid model of remote work–be in the office for 4 to 5 hours per day, and do the rest of our time from home.

    I’ll also getting really annoyed with people who don’t have a legitimate reason not to get a vaccine not getting a vaccine. My sister is scheduled for a hysterectomy after Labor Day. She felt it was safe to have lunch this weekend with her friend who was going in for cancer surgery today. Yesterday my sister got a call from her friend and her friend’s sister-in-law had COVID, is unvaccinated, and still came by the house a few days before to wish the friend well. Now the friend’s cancer surgery has been postponed because she tested positive for COVID, and still has the cancer cells ragging through her body. My sister’s surgery that she’s been waiting months for is likely to be cancelled unless she can test negative in the next few weeks. My sister has already been in the ER twice for blood loss that the hysterectomy hopefully will fix permanently. All this because someone who was unvaccinated (and had symptoms but didn’t tell anyone!) decided to leave the house.

    So yes, your refusal to get a vaccine impacts other people. I can only imagine what will happen when people go back to work.

  18. DemocracyDiesinPaywalls*

    This is really important info. It’s a shame it’s behind a paywall. Guess I’ll have to wait for next month and my pittance of free articles on the site.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t think it’s a shame at all that I and other writers get paid for our work, or that publications get the funds to continue publishing it.

    2. Elenna*

      I hardly think the 10+ articles a week that Allison publishes here for free are “a pittance”.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Pittance indeed! More like 15 a week by my count, if you count each short-answer compilation as one article.

        I get the frustration with paywalls, but you can’t call it a pittance when the clear majority of content is free.

    3. Former Hominid*

      It’s annoying but so are ads. If the article was free but paid for by wall to wall ads and unblockable pop-ups I’m sure your username would be DemocracyDiesinAds. I’d rather Alison gets paid via subscriptions rather than a bombardment of advertisements for colloidal silver and “Eat this one vegetable to empty your bowels every morning”.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Nope, it’s been the same for years — 3 posts a day are hosted here and one is hosted elsewhere (except on Fridays, when there’s one fewer posts and they’re all here). That’s been my schedule for at least four years, and I think longer. There are 16 posts here every week for free, sometimes more, with a total of 33 letters a week.

        That said, at some point I might do less! That’s a ridiculous posting schedule for one person to keep up and I make no promises about never changing it.

        1. Phony Genius*

          Sorry for the misunderstanding. I was referring to New York Magazine’s number of free articles per month.

    4. M / P*

      Actually, I think we are spoilt by the huge number and quality of the articles she publishes completely for free.
      I’d gladly pay for a subscription.

  19. Clerk Lady*

    My place of work (local gov) announced a soft mandate- vax or daily nose swab tests- along with a policy on who could do what, how the health information would be protected, etc. Was being hammered for a few days and then… Nothing. The documents were pulled from our intranet, the department meetings stopped mentioning it. Rumor mill was that some incel joker (who could work fully remote if IT gave him a laptop) went to our attorney and started asking really off the wall legal questions and spooked our bosses. No concrete information, but afaik, our vax stuff is off the table, maybe permanently so.

    Its so frustrating

  20. Private School Teacher*

    Removed. Let me be very clear: I will not host anti-vax comments here, period. You cannot use this site to spread misinformation that, if followed, could result in severe illness or death. If this continues, I’ll be using a one strike and you’re banned policy. – Alison

  21. Ask a Manager* Post author

    All comments on this post are now going through moderation due to an influx of misinformation, so there will be a delay before your comment shows up.

    1. F.M.*

      Thank you! And I’m sorry you have to go through all the extra work for this, but I really appreciate that you moderate that stuff out.

    2. LabTechNoMore*

      If the rest of the internet were this diligent about countering misinformation campaigns, our society would be much better off right now. Thank you, Alison!

    3. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

      From a former virologist – this is part of why I love your site. There’s no tolerance for harmful misinformation.

  22. SnappinTerrapin*

    My primary care physician has given notice that he will not see unvaccinated patients on or after 1 October. The first three unvaccinated patients to see the notice at his office asked where to go to get their vaccines.

    As he said, we have better resources for prevention than for treatment, and covid is an unpleasant disease to endure.

    1. Cat Lover*

      Honestly, I think just straight up inconveniencing people into get vaccinated is the way to go, lol.

    2. fhqwhgads*

      I’m personally not opposed to this kind of requirement at all, but I’m under the impression doctors actually can’t do that? Depending on where you are.

      1. J.B.*

        Some pediatric practices have chosen not to see unvaccinated patients (or rather, whose parents do not have them vaccinated) for a while now. Emergency rooms have to treat but individual practices can set limits.

      2. SnappinTerrapin*

        This is in Mobile, Alabama.

        Doctors in private practice can terminate a professional relationship with a patient, and forward their records to the patient’s next physician.

        Trying to find a new doctor when I relocated from north Alabama just in time for the pandemic to close clinics was as much of a challenge as finding new doctors a few years ago when I changed insurance policies.

        If the patient doesn’t trust the doctor’s advice to get vaccinated, they should be happier with a different doctor.

      3. Esmeralda*

        Not true. Doctors can “fire” patients.

        My son’s pediatrician (a large practice) stopped seeing patients whose parents wouldn’t vax them several years ago. They work to explain “why vax” (I mean, standard childhood vaccines), discuss false stories like “vaccines cause autism”, but if a parent will not comply, they will not keep the kids as patients.

        Speaking as the parent of a child who spent 9 years off and on chemo — I applaud doctors who do this. That parent’s right not to vax their kid does not give them a right to kill my child.

    3. Girasol*

      My primary care physician is mandating masks for staff and patients but doesn’t require vaccination. My husband’s medical specialist wouldn’t even put a mask on when asked and lectured him on how masking is about the government trying to take away our freedom. So my husband is calling around to find a new doctor who does require masks. It’s surprising how many doctors around here have a policy of “People can wear a mask if they want to.”

  23. agnes*

    I think a place of business requiring either proof of vaccination or proof of no disease is reasonable to protect public health. I even think requiring a vaccine is reasonable. And masks–well all I can say to that is do you want your doctor masked in the OR? Why–if masks don’t work, why do you want that? If your immune system is “all you need” then why do you want your doctor masked up when you have any kind of medical procedure?

    I’m old enough to remember households getting quarantined when somebody had the mumps, or measles, or scarlet fever, or any number of other highly contagious illnesses. A notice was posted on the door of the person’s home, and I know of one or two people who spent the night in jail for violating the quarantine order.

    I know people who died from measles. I know people made permanently sterile from mumps. I know people who suffer mightily from shingles today because of having chicken pox as a child. My dad’s best friend died from complications of polio 60 years after supposedly ‘recovering’ from it.

    Even if most people catching these childhood diseases recover completely, many others do not. We do not know what the long term effects of Covid will be, and I for one am not interested in finding out.

    Get the vaccine. Wear a mask. Stay home if you are sick. The only thing hard about that is your own hard head.

  24. Marketing Queen*

    We recently had our first in-person events (office doesn’t officially re-open until October). We received an email that vaccinated people could choose whether or not to mask up, and non-vaccinated must wear masks. First in-person meeting was a smaller group – about 20 people (including several who flew in for the event). I was literally the only person wearing a mask (I am fully vaxxed, but really cautious). I opted out of the all staff meeting/event the next day. The covid form we had to fill out didn’t even ask about vaccination status, so there’s no way for the company to actually enforce their own policy. When I mentioned to HR about the mask policy not being in alignment with recommendations, they said it was – so clearly they weren’t even up to date on the CDC’s latest recommendations (this was about a week after the CDC changed their stance to everyone masking indoors). It has given me zero faith in my company’s ability to keep employees safe once we’re back in the office.

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