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Vaccine mandates and the complications (by Jason He)

Currently, we are in the midst of a global pandemic that has caused extraordinary damage across the entire world. With the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, the demand for workers to be vaccinated has steadily increased as time passed. 

Shortly after one of United Airlines’ pilots had passed away due to COVID-19, the decision to enforce a vaccine mandate was made. Currently, United is one of the first companies in the US that has successfully vaccinated nearly all of its staff (Chokshi & Scheiber, 2021) The debate between vaccine mandates and non-vaccine mandates has become an increasingly controversial topic, especially in the workforce. Hundreds of employees have already lost their job from their refusal to comply with the vaccine mandate (Chokshi & Scheiber, 2021)

The glaring question is if this mandate is fair for everyone involved. For employers, it makes sense from a business perspective that they want their employees vaccinated. However, employees who choose to not yet get vaccinated also have some valid concerns such as allergic reactions, family decisions, and lack of information on the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccines. So far, those who are vaccinated are 99.99% likely to not be hospitalized or die (Beer 2021) In order for employers to increase vaccination numbers, some companies such as United have created incentives such as more vacation days and bonuses (Chokshi & Scheiber, 2021)

While it’s encouraging that some companies have tried to aid their employees by providing incentives, there are many who argue that it’s morally wrong for the government to have control over one’s personal life choices. While some employees willingly chose to get vaccinated after the mandate, many others felt pressured to get vaccinated. So far, there are many employees who have refused to get vaccinated. 

One of the most common reasons is religious exemptions. Religious exemptions have been a complicated issue for employers because it requires constitutional provisions that need to be followed (Trujillo 2021.) Employees can easily claim the need to follow religious beliefs to apply for an exemption. As a result, employers have to ask for proof from their employees, which has also been controversial because many employees are offended that their faith is being questioned. This has put employers in a difficult position where they can’t question their employees in-depth, but at the same time, must follow the vaccine mandate.

Another complication with vaccine mandates is for businesses that are short-staffed. In certain businesses, due to some employees who refuse to get vaccinated, employers have no choice but to either put them on unpaid leave or have them resign. Some companies can absorb this hit. However, for others, losing employees is extremely detrimental. A good case in point is hospitals that are short-staffed on healthcare workers. The CEO of Accura HealthCare, Ted Le LeNeave, has publicly stated that without workers, their hospitals have been forced to limit the number of patients they can take in (Hsu 2021.) With mandates, employers are forced to decide on employees who remain unvaccinated. As a result, this is causing some serious issues in the workforce.

Is it right for companies to mandate their employees to be vaccinated? The question can spark many debates between those that believe it’s necessary, and those who do not believe it’s necessary. So far, the statistics have shown that vaccinations have been very effective at lowering mortality and infection rates. However, there are many workers who have refused to change their stance on getting vaccinated.

As an employer, what do you believe is the correct choice? Do you continue to enforce a vaccination mandate to protect the company and its customers? Or do you give your employers the freedom to make their own choices but risk infections within your company?

About the Author:

Jason He is currently a senior at Cal Poly Pomona majoring in Hospitality Management. He has two years of work experience in the hospitality industry and is currently working at the Holiday Inn as a front desk agent where he has further developed his service skills. Most of his experience has been in the restaurant industry, which he credits immensely for his development. In his free time, he enjoys exercising and spending time with his dog. His long-term goals are to utilize his work experience and education to become an effective leader in the hospitality industry.

References:

Chokshi N, Scheiber N. (2021, October 2). Inside United Airlines’ Decision to Mandate Coronavirus Vaccines. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/02/business/united-airlines-coronavirus-vaccine-mandate.html 

Trujillo, D. (2021, October 5). Religious Exemptions for Vaccine Mandates Present Challenges for Employers. NBC Bay Area. https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/religious-exemptions-for-vaccine-mandates-present-challenges-for-employers/2674319/

Beer, T. (2021, October 4). Covid-19 Mandates Are Working- Here’s The Proof. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tommybeer/2021/10/04/covid-19-vaccine-mandates-are-working-heres-the-proof/?sh=30123bce2305

Hsu, Andrea. (2021, September 23). Nurses Are In Short Supply. Employers Worry Vaccine Mandate Could Make It Worse. NPR. https://www.npr.org/2021/09/23/1039228806/nurses-are-in-short-supply-employers-worry-vaccine-mandate-could-make-it-worse

Picture Source https://content.gallup.com/origin/gallupinc/GallupSpaces/Production/Cms/POLL/x2qwktxbje-ezlziu9aoxq.jpg

Comments

  1. Chuong Nguyen, HRT 3500-02

    The vaccine mandates are an incredibly nuanced and divisive topic but are also a necessary conversation. Given the circumstances of the global pandemic, I think the content and arguments for and against the vaccine mandates are so condensed. In the context of service sectors, which include the hospitality industry, I think there is a unique element in that businesses directly rely on customers (the public) to maintain operation, and there is essentially an immeasurable amount of people that consume these products and services. By not having employees be vaccinated, companies willingly expose massive numbers of guests to sickness, not to mention others that might be affected should one guest contract and pass on the virus to others. If I was an employer, I would ordinarily put more credence to a person's personal life choices, but I feel that, in this case, that choice can potentially affect others in the company and guests. I support these companies' choice to incentivize their employees to get vaccinated.

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