Rolling up opposition to vaccination in the sky
Anti-vaxxers rejoiced over the weekend, when Southwest Airlines was forced to ground flights across the country due to -what the company claims- personnel shortage, ‘weather issues’ and denied the reports of pilots, flight attendants and other essential workers deliberately throwing a tantrum so they don’t have to be considerate of others.
According to the Associated Press, thousands of Southwest Airlines flights were grounded over the weekend. There are three schools of thought when it comes to understanding why Southwest Airlines is struggling.
- The company booked more flights than it can actually manage.
Henry H. Harteveldt, president and travel industry analyst at The Atmosphere Research Group, based in San Francisco, points to other causes for the cancellations.
First, he says Southwest has scheduled more flights than it can handle, a problem that started in June. He also noted that Southwest operates what’s known as a point-to-point route network, and when a delay occurs, it “cascades” along the remaining flight segments. That’s because, for example, a Southwest flight departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the airline’s home base of Dallas may make multiple stops along the way.
- In an effort to mandate vaccinations to protect the public from the ongoing COVID-19 virus, airlines across the country have mandated that their staff show proof of vaccination or be fired. Originally, staff were given the option to continue show proof of negative COVID-19 tests, but some companies shifted course and mandated proof of vaccination or their employees would face termination.
But Harteveldt says the most troubling reason is the likelihood that some pilots who oppose Southwest’s decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations are participating in an illegal job action where they call in sick or are engaging in a “work slowdown.”
But the SWAPA (the union that represents Southwest Airline Pilots) pushed back on this and said:
“SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to a number of issues, but we can say with confidence that our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions,” it said.
Social Media users on Twitter who are apparent anti-vaxxers, made the situation with Southwest seem to be more than it was:
Do you have a Constitutional right to not get vaccinated?
While the people who protest in front of elementary schools, Planned Parenthood clinics and intimidate and attack essential hospital workers keep claiming that they are refusing a vaccine for a virus -that has killed up to 700,000 people in the United States- for ‘Constitutional reasons’ according to legal experts, say you do not have the ‘constitutional right’ to refuse the vaccination.
According to Marci Hamlin and Paul Offit for CNN:
Those challenging the government mandates are likely to invoke their rights under the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, which protect speech, religion, and a right not to “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Their view ends up as a snapshot of themselves; nonetheless, rights can be limited if a person is endangering another.
It’s a sentiment that came up in the 1905 Supreme Court decision in the case Jacobson v. Massachusetts. The court ruled against a man who had refused to be vaccinated against smallpox, stating: “Real liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own (liberty), whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others.” That same principle was apparent when Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who is thought to be a strong rights-advocate, left standing Indiana University’s vaccine mandate.
They go on to note that:
We would posit, further, that governments that don’t mandate vaccination against Covid-19 are skating very close to violating the standard for a constitutional right to “life” without due process. If a government does not take reasonable action to prevent the likely deaths of so many people, there will be more lawsuits. Already, we’ve seen schools filing lawsuits against former Trump administration officials and individuals suing the World Health Organization contending that they mishandled the Covid-19 response.
The depth of the science and the worldwide experience show plainly that vaccination is the best protection from this pandemic, and that the faster we reach herd immunity the more likely it will be that people won’t die from this virus, hospitals won’t be overburdened, and the economy will fully recover.
Vaccine mandates across industries have been working and the data proves it.
According to a White House report, three segments of the American workforce:
- Healthcare workers
- Education workers
- Corporate and Public workers
have shown remarkable vaccination rates despite the mass resignation threats. For the healthcare sector the report found that:
- April 1, Houston Methodist became the first health system in the country to require all of its employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.At Houston Methodist, the hospital lost only 153 out of 25,000 employees.
Rural health system in Kentucky, St. Claire Healthcare, lost less than 4% of their 1,100 employees. Novant Health in North Carolina suspended only about 375 of its over 35,000 employees for failing to get vaccinated.14 200 of those suspended employees decided to get vaccinated so they could return to their jobs
- MaineHealth and NorthernLight, lost only 65 out of 33,000 employees. Medical University of South Carolina Health had to let go only five of its more than 17,000 employees for failing to comply with their requirement. At Hanceville Nursing & Rehab Center in Alabama, six of 250 workers quit rather than get a shot. Only five of 527 employees quit at Jewish Home Family in New Jersey, and only two of 250 employees left at Westminster Village in Illinois.
The report released by the White House is extensive and does a deep-dive into just how clearly vaccine mandates haven’t resulted in mass resignations predicted by right-wing anti-vaccination protestors.
Vaccine Mandates for Travelers? Dr. Fauci says not so fast
While airline staff are facing mandates to get vaccinated [as they should be], Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Fauci is saying that travelers don’t need to be bound by the same requirement. In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Dr. Fauci says:
Amid a growing push for passengers on domestic flights to show proof of vaccination, top infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci said he doesn’t see it happening in the near future.
His statement came Sunday during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” after anchor Dana Bash asked if he would like an air travel vaccine mandate in effect for the holidays. He said such a decision would be made with “input from a number of parts of the government.”
“On the table is the issue of mandates for vaccine,” said Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser. “It’s always discussable, we always wind up discussing it, but right now I don’t see that immediately.”
Senator Feinstein introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate to mandate a vaccination requirement for domestic U.S. travelers who are traveling by air. Amtrak has already mandated a Pre-Covid check for all travelers on it’s service.
Between the democratically controlled U.S. Congress and the guidance from Dr. Fauci, it would be interesting to see what the final outcome is.
Go to vaccine.gov and keep your whole community safe from the virus.
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