A local news personality, Deann Cox from Lexington-based WKYT, recently announced she was fired from her role for not getting vaccinated. Deann stated on her Facebook page that she had a medical exemption from her doctor that WKYT would not accept. Though this is a very public example, it is going on around the country on a regular basis now.
This certainly presents legal, moral, financial, and scientific issues that most businesses seem to be pushing to the side.
Legal: When it comes to most careers, never before has medical history played a major part in the decision as to whether or not you get to keep your job. In fact most employers avoid it if we can. I own several small businesses and have around 20 people total on my payrolls. A few years ago, I attended a webinar on Human Resources. In said webinar, we talked about sick days. The HR “experts” on this call actually stated that perhaps we as employers should not be asking for an individual’s doctor’s note when they need a sick day. This was due to the possibility of opening ourselves up to a medical discrimination lawsuit. For example: if I was unaware you had such conditions as your employer, then you can’t accuse me of firing you for said condition. We have gone from trying to avoid knowing about our employee’s medical conditions to demanding they get a medical treatment that has a possible outcome of death (regardless of how small that chance is). My, how things have changed. Why have businesses thrown off these legal concerns? If anything, that should be a testament to the inconsistency the legal system has had in regards to COVID issues when considering how they have handled any such issues in times past.
If we take Deann Cox’s firing as an example, that seems to me to be a clear-cut case of firing someone over a medical disability without providing accommodation. She had a medical disability, and WKYT would have to make a case that her inability to get vaccinated somehow precludes her from her ability to do her job and no reasonable accommodation could be made. The only reason employers feel empowered to act this way is because they believe the government has their backs.
Moral: It is not up for debate whether or the vaccine has resulted in a death. The CDC, FDA, and WHO have all agreed that the COVID vaccine has resulted in at least a few deaths. The contention between the groups and general population is how many deaths have occurred, but it has been acknowledged that it happens. Now of course, the general consensus of these organizations is that the number of vaccine deaths are far fewer than the number of COVID deaths, so therefore, vaccination for the general population is worth the tradeoff. That does nothing to acknowledge the morality of forcing individuals—without even informed consent—to essentially sacrifice themselves for the greater good. It reminds me of an age-old moral dilemma. If a boulder is rolling down a hill and it’s going to crush 1,000 people, but you could redirect the boulder to instead only kill 100 people that would have otherwise been safe, what would you do? This is a real life embodiment of that moral dilemma. We know by mandating vaccines more people will die from vaccine injury, but the “experts” believe this will cause fewer deaths overall as less will die from COVID-19.
So what is the moral thing to do? My moral compass tells me not to redirect the boulder. We did not push the rock down the hill. The fact it started rolling towards 1,000 people is not my fault. The minute I decide to redirect the rock to kill 100 other people, however, I am playing God. I am deciding who has more value and who doesn’t. We can do what we can try and stop the rock, but I will not partake in deciding who lives and dies. Most employers haven’t taken a moment to consider this: what if someone in their workforce dies from a vaccine injury due to their mandate that otherwise would have been just fine? How will that weigh on their consciences? Our institutions are not sharing that possibility, and it will lead to more mistrust.
Financial: It doesn’t take an MBA to know that businesses need at least a few things to have a shot at being successful. Customers, a product, and employees are among the top three. This culture of vaccine mandates puts all of these in danger. Mandates create obvious staffing issues. In this current hiring climate, losing even just a small amount of staff from a business can be very difficult on the success of that business. That compounds when you consider supply chains. Some industries have significantly lower vaccination rates than others. However, all are industries are necessary for the success of the overall supply chain. On the topic of customers the risks, are very clear. There is no movement on the other side of vaccine mandate issue. There is not an organized group of people pushing companies to mandate a vaccine nor is there a group organizing boycotts if not mandated. The only push from the customer is coming from the anti-mandate camp, meaning that you only have customers to lose by deciding to mandate vaccinations for staff. Mandating vaccinations in the workplace has no financial incentive coming from the marketplace.
Scientific: There is mounting evidence that natural immunity has at least the same—if not more—protection against COVID-19 when compared to immunization alone. Advocates of vaccine mandates would say that you still get more protection by being vaccinated after getting natural immunity. That may be true, but it leads to a very important scientific questions: if vaccination and natural immunity have the same protection value, why is one being valued more than the other? If the concern is slowing the spread and better medical outcomes, shouldn’t the thing that has equal or better outcomes be valued the same? Additionally, the most recent peer reviewed study in the European Journal of Epidemiology blows a large hole in the “collective” argument in regards to vaccination. The study details how different vaccination rates have not been an indicator of COVID spread and also shows that in real world conditions, vaccines do not stop the spread. Therefore, whether or not someone gets vaccinated only has repercussions for that specific individual. If a business was somehow intrinsically motivated to “protect” their staff, then they would be valuing natural and vaccinated immunity as at least equal.
All four reasons point to an obvious conclusion: in a completely free market, there would be absolutely no incentive for a business to mandate vaccinations. It is very clear our government is meddling in our economy and creating perverse incentives detached from market factors. This is what is causing the manifestations of inflation, supply chain issues, and economic turmoil. Business are being coerced, paid, and even forced to put these kinds of restrictions on their employees.