President Joe Biden’s mandate that all hospital staffs, first responders and frontline workers must be vaccinated with one of the three recognized COVD-19 vaccines, is confounding, illogical and legally questionable. But the worst part of this executive decision is its obvious vilification of America’s selfless frontline workers, threatening them with financial punishment and shame if they don’t acquiesce to his bullying executive order.
For over a year hospital staffs, first responders such as police, EMT’s and firefighters have, at great personal risk, provided needed care and service to the public despite the threat of becoming infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. In many of the hospital settings these doctors, nurses and support staffs worked tirelessly for weeks on end without taking any rest days. In some situations they worked well beyond their normal shifts handling the overwhelming case loads.
Though the vaccines were available, many healthcare providers and first responders opted to have the public receive the shots first, contending logically that if the pandemic could be stopped or at least ameliorated, it would reduce the number of hospitalizations, thus removing the stress on medical services nationwide.
Now these very same selfless workers are the target for shame and punishment. This is illogical and despicable.
In some cases these workers are choosing not to be vaccinated either out of personal concern or philosophical reasons to include religious beliefs. They’ve spent the past year treating patients suffering from Covid-19 so they are very aware of the threat posed by the disease.
It is interesting that Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, supporting the mandate stated, “We’re seeing a lot of places that this is working, it’s effective. It’s creating more certainty and protection in their workforces.” Where was this concern a year ago?
To bully medical staffs and first responders into submission hospitals and states are threatening them with temporary layoffs without pay or outright dismissal. This after these very same workers have been so diligent and selfless in their jobs. These actions make no sense and are dismissive of their success and service.
The current vaccine (regimen) does not eliminate the virus but does seemingly reduce the severity of the disease. And since it is a fact that the virus, particularly the Delta variant, can still be passed on by those who have been vaccinated, the conclusion is that it only helps those who have had the shot. So why not leave this decision to the individual and not to the state? Those in the healthcare services are very aware of the consequences.
But, as the President is wont to do, like a bull in china shop, he is crashing through yet another crisis heightening disruption and distrust without the benefit of solutions, as if Afghanistan, the southern border and a collapsing economy are not enough.
The ramifications of this effort to vilify the essential workers is threatening services in critical need creating another potential disaster. California Hospital Association spokesperson Jan Emerson-Shea told the AP, “We are concerned about how it (the mandate) will exacerbate an already quite serious staffing problem.”
New York hospitals, concerned that they will come up shorthanded due to resistance to the draconian mandate, are preparing to cut back hospital services, limiting nursing home admissions and drawing up plans to call in the National Guard members with medical training. Dozens of Massachusetts State Police are resigning as a result of the mandate as are police, firefighters and even teachers in other states that are demanding compliance to the vaccine mandate.
As of Monday, one major N.C. hospital system has fired 175 of its 35,000-plus work force for failing to be vaccinated
Troy Bruntz, president and CEO for Community Hospital in McCook Nebraska, told AP reporters Heather Hollingsworth and Tammy Webber he is worried that it will be difficult to hire new workers when his hospital organization is already shorthanded. Twenty-five of 330 employees, just shy of 10 per cent of his work force at the hospital, have stated they will resign while 100 others, including nurses and maintenance staff, were undecided what they will do.
Mr. Brunz noted presciently “It (the staff dismissals and resignations) doesn’t make us feel too confident that this (the mandate) isn’t going to turn into something short of a nightmare for American health care.”
President Biden’s effort to shame and bully those who have served so willingly, selflessly and diligently is shameful of its own accord. Because he is losing the trust of the public he can no longer cajole or sell the public on the benefits of the vaccine, so he is now turning to his only other recourse - bullying with fear, shame and the threat of job loss.
Shame on you Mr. President. These first responders, front line workers and hospital staffs deserve your respect and appreciation, not your abusive threats.