Since the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine became FDA approved, one would expect less resistance to becoming vaccinated. With three out of ten Americans still remaining unvaccinated, and 14% staunchly against the idea of taking the vaccine, this is not the case. Some of these Americans give explanations as to why they don’t want to receive the vaccine, the major ones being that the vaccine is more dangerous than the virus itself and that their religion is opposed to it. Though both of these have been dispelled, people still find ways to disagree and refuse the shot, being major contributors to the ubiquity of COVID.
President Joe Biden has begun to appeal to states and private corporations to roll out vaccine mandates, as over a quarter of members of the workforce have yet to become vaccinated. Biden was originally reluctant to set any mandates, but seeing the exponential rate at which the Delta Variant has been spreading, he decided to take action. Though it will take weeks, months even, for this to be implemented across the country, some companies have already begun to take initiative; some airlines have now started to require shots for their employees, such as American Airlines, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines, among a few others. Businesses have the power to raise the vaccination rates, and change the arc of the pandemic in the United States.
New York, once the Coronavirus hub, instituted the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in late September with relative success – so much so that circa November, the governor of New York is planning on extending the mandate to encompass other professions as well. Tens of thousands of workers have gone out to receive their first dose; however, many others are losing their jobs, refusing to take the shots. A multitude of lawsuits have risen regarding the mandate, with the plaintiffs seeking an exemption from becoming vaccinated. On one hand, this increases the safety of nurses and doctors as well as the patients themselves. On the other hand, if health care providers uphold the mandate and fire a great number of employees, then there could end up being staff shortages across hospitals. It appears that the industry can handle a limited amount of job losses; although, there is a real possibility for there to be a scarcity in healthcare workers if more people continue to disagree with the mandate, however unlikely.
In addition, the committee for the Centers for Disease Control has unanimously voted that the elderly and others at a high risk for severe infection are recommended to take a third booster dose of Pfizer, if they took the Pfizer vaccine originally. Since Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are awaiting FDA approval, this CDC recommendation only applies to Pfizer vaccines. According to the committee, “people 18 to 65 who work in a job or other setting where they are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 should not yet be allowed to receive an extra Pfizer dose.” The issue with this counsel is that anti-vaxxers may use this to solidify their belief that the vaccine is hazardous to all. This information conflicts with Biden’s plan to roll out the booster shot plan, where most age groups are offered an extra dose of the vaccine. Providers are required to follow the instruction of the FDA and CDC, especially since the government temporarily bought the vaccines. It is critical that providers heed the CDC as we are at a crucial point in the pandemic, where things could go either way.