Thomas Gallatin / November 22, 2021

30% of Healthcare Workers Remain Unvaxxed

Joe Biden’s looming COVID vaccine mandate has hospitals worried about staffing shortages.

Nearly one-third of healthcare workers in the U.S. remain unvaccinated for COVID. As of September, some 70% of healthcare workers had received the COVID vaccine, but as Joe Biden’s January 4 vaccine mandate deadline looms — at least in the case of federal workers and contractors, which includes some 17 million involved with Medicare and Medicaid services — healthcare industry officials are growing increasingly worried.

If forced to comply with Biden’s vaccine mandate, many of these hospitals will be navigating significant staffing shortages. This looming situation easily could have been avoided entirely if Biden had stuck to his original statements eschewing any COVID vaccine mandate.

It may be the role of the federal government to encourage and facilitate public health. It is not the role of the president to mandate particular healthcare decisions. Unfortunately, the legal battle for the mandate on federal workers and contractors is going to be tougher than the mandate on private employers with 100 or more employees. That “sledgehammer” was struck down by the courts already, albeit temporarily.

As for the medical part of this, contrary to the rhetoric, the Biden administration is not “following the science” with its vaccine mandate policy. Just how many of the 30% of unvaccinated healthcare workers already have COVID antibodies from previous infection?

Over the course of the pandemic, many of these front-line healthcare workers have already contracted and recovered from the novel virus. Subsequently, they have developed natural immunity. What is the scientific basis for requiring those who’ve already achieved natural immunity to get a vaccine? Of course, the CDC recommends a shot for everyone, regardless of prior infection, but that doesn’t mean it’s following the science.

It is the issue of natural immunity that Republican lawmakers have raised with their Natural Immunity Is Real Act. It’ll never become law under a Democrat Congress, but all Republicans hope to achieve is “to require Federal agencies to acknowledge, accept, and agree to truthfully present, natural immunity pertaining to COVID–19 pursuant to promulgating certain regulations.”

The COVID vaccines are not the issue; Biden’s vaccine mandate is. The instinct of an authoritarian is to attack individual freedom, not defend it. The Constitution and the science are just in the way.

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