(NEW YORK) – Life may be about to get more difficult for the unvaccinated – and it’s not just because of their dramatically increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming very ill.
A growing chorus of states, cities and private sector titans are implementing new vaccine requirements for their employees and customers. It marks a new, less negotiable phase in the fight against the coronavirus, after months of coaxing and material gifts leading the vaccination campaign.
The new incentives are not financial. They derive their motivation from immediate, tangible fears: of wasting time getting tested, losing a job, losing money or missing social events, as well as the increasingly apparent pain of the pandemic. that hits the house with the loss of lives and loved ones. . More than 97% of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the country are not vaccinated, according to the White House COVID-19 task force.
Now, after months of declining immunization rates, immunization rates are rebounding with the recent spate of serious illness. On Thursday alone, the United States recorded its highest number of vaccinations in more than a month – 585,000 new vaccinations in a single day, the White House COVID-19 data director said. Some of the most dramatic increases in recent vaccinations have been in states with the highest increases in new cases and hospitalizations and some of the lowest vaccination rates.
“Watching more people die in intensive care, children get sick?” Yes, it motivates, ”said Dr. Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics and founding director of the division of medical ethics at New York University School of Medicine. “The free beer, the fishing license, the free marijuana, the school fees haven’t pushed many people to get vaccinated.”
Unvaccinated Americans must now weigh their own personal risk-benefit ratio: take the vaccine or face restrictions.
“Carrots don’t work a lot,” Caplan said. “Now we see more pressure coming from the other side.”
This pressure comes in the form of federal, state and local vaccine requirements.
Demands for government employees to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing, social distancing and masks were accompanied by a host of big companies like Google, Facebook, Tyson Foods and Disney, which is the parent company of ABC News, now requiring the vaccine for their employees.
“I think we’ve taken some important steps to make it harder to return to work, or harder to come back to work, if you’re not vaccinated,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff said. Zients.
The Biden administration has made it clear that there will be no federal mandate; but its recent trend towards vaccine requirements marks a change in tone from removing barriers to getting the vaccine to making it difficult to lead “normal” lives for those who choose not to get it.
“There is a little hassle factor that determines whether or not people are ready for an exemption,” Julie Morita, executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told ABC. “And if it’s too difficult or more difficult, people can choose to get the vaccine.”
As the NFL season gets underway, the league has informed clubs that it will not be extending the season to deal with an outbreak of COVID-19 among unvaccinated players that is leading to a game cancellation, a reported the NFL Network, a sharp turn from the previous season, when the league changed the schedule to avoid missed games amid outbreaks. Additionally, players from both teams would lose payment for the lost match, and the team responsible for the cancellation caused by unvaccinated players would cover financial losses and face potential disciplinary action.
Caplan suggests presenting vaccination as the more attractive choice; withdrawing will make life more difficult.
New York is the first city in the country to require proof of at least one dose of immunization for some of the main modes of basic recreation – indoor dining, indoor entertainment, and gym training. All state employees will need to get vaccinated or tested every week starting on Labor Day.
New York’s major private hospitals will impose a similar vaccine requirement. In internal emails obtained by ABC News, New York Presbyterian and Mount Sinai both informed staff that starting in September, workers must show proof of vaccination or undergo weekly tests. State-run, patient-oriented hospital staff will have no testing options.
“Please note that compliance – either by vaccination or exemption – will be required for your continued employment,” the president and vice president of the New York Presbyterian Hospital said in a letter to staff. “We want all of our team to continue working with us, but we need to balance that with the imperative to protect our patients, employees and communities.”
The move sparked protests from the largest health care union in the United States. Members of the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East said they shouldn’t have to get vaccinated to keep their jobs – especially if it risks losing frontline health workers when they’re most needed. This reflected the concerns of some national unions about protecting individual freedoms – and not forcing their workers to pay for government-imposed tests.
Experts note that there is a fine line between requirements that are “part of what will push more people to get vaccinated,” as surgeon general Vivek Murthy told ABC’s Start Here podcast, and push them back.
A full federal mandate could cause hesitant, unvaccinated Americans to “pull their heels in,” Morita said.
“Usually, with mandates of any kind, you want to do whatever is possible before you mandate something,” she said. “But when the vaccine is free, it’s accessible, and you’re still struggling, then warrants make sense. But you really want to give people the chance to do it on their own.
The advent of more local warrants looms on the imminent horizon once the vaccine is fully approved by the FDA, which could happen as early as early September, a senior White House official familiar with the process told ABC News. FDA approval.
Dr Anthony Fauci called the moment a “game changer,” which may provide more legal cover for companies to implement vaccine imperatives.
“’My body, my choice’ is not an ethic for a plague,” said Caplan. “The plague ethic is ‘my body, vaccinated’ – more choices for everyone. “
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