New York City Mayor Eric Adams, like many executives around the country, is mandating that all city employees must be vaccinated on order to work. This is leading to some very interesting, and quite absurd, situations in the Big Apple. Kyrie Irving, Point Guard for the Brooklyn Nets, is not able to play games in New York City however he is able to attend games in New York City. Irving did as much during a game against the Knicks. Irving was not able to play, so he purchased a ticket and attended courtside. He even greeted teammates and was seen on the floor. Unvaccinated players from the New York Yankees and the Mets face similar circumstances once MLB resumes in the coming weeks.
Vaccine mandate policies such as these are hardly limited to cities or sports. They can be observed in countless ways in organizations throughout the United States. Set aside the fact that all current COVID vaccines available operate under the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA), many policies make little sense from a workplace safety perspective.
Some workers who are exclusively remote employees are forced to choose between “jab or job.” These employees are fully remote and do not encounter other employees. There is no risk to the health or well-being of others, as there is no exposure to unvaccinated employees. Additionally, even fully vaccinated employees are susceptible to COVID variants such as Omicron, as we have seen in recent months. Employees can easily transmit these variants inside an office even while fully vaccinated. Why then, should HR or other executives mandate a vaccine that operates under EUA? As we’re now learning through the Pfizer disclosures, vaccine efficacy decreases significantly after as little as one month. A Lund University study also suggests that mRNA vaccines enter human liver cells and trigger the cells DNA in the nucleus to increase the production of the LINE-1 gene expression to make mRNA; a fact that Pfizer said was “not possible.” One thing is clear; we simply do not have enough facts to include COVID vaccines in routinely mandated employer inoculations.
Cover for businesses was largely provided by Joe Biden’s Executive Order on vaccine mandates for businesses with 100 or more employees. This cover, however, was brief. The Supreme Court struck down the mandate as unconstitutional, reversing the EO.
It’s long past time for HR leaders to follow the science and allow for individual choice in the workplace. Far too many employees face discrimination under Title VII. They should not be subjected to proving why they do not need to comply with mandates for vaccines issued under EUA that violate religious or civil liberties. Trust your employees to make their own medical decisions and keep their teammates safe. This is not only a matter of choice but, in many cases, a matter of civil rights.