No Jab, No Job?

From Speak Out Now’s public services newsletter in the San Francisco Bay Area

At a growing number of workplaces there have been moves towards mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for employees — a source of controversy in some cases. For some, the idea of mandating vaccines is seen as an important step towards a post-pandemic world. For others, it represents an attack on their individual freedom.

If the point is to protect people, the evidence is clear. While not perfect, the vaccines are doing their job. Studies and reports from medical facilities all over the world continue to show that fully vaccinated people are less likely to catch the virus, much less likely to be hospitalized from it, and even less likely to die from it.

In addition, vaccine mandates are nothing new. Anyone who’s attended a public school or who’s gone through the immigration process into the U.S. was obligated to be vaccinated for a range of diseases such as Hepatitis B, Measles and Polio.

There are many reasons to not trust the government, the media and the pharmaceutical industry. They protect corporate profits above all, and of course, they don’t have workers’ interests at heart. Because of this disorienting situation, it is understandable why people would be suspicious of the vaccines.

Rather than engaging in a real education campaign to answer people’s legitimate concerns about the vaccine, the government and companies are essentially threatening people with losing their livelihoods if they don’t take the vaccine. Rather than building trust in the vaccine, this only weakens it.

We should get the vaccine to protect ourselves and others around us, and we should not agree to give the bosses the power to come after the unvaccinated because this power could be used against any of us for other reasons.

The stresses brought on by the pandemic have been hard felt, and we are all ready to move on. The people who are really in power would love us to be pointing fingers at each other about who is responsible for the situation we continue to find ourselves in. Unvaccinated people are not responsible for the pathetic response to the virus by the government. We can’t afford to blame each other. The only chance working people have to stand up for a better future depends on how united, not divided, we are. Unity is our best shot.