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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,092
Sept. 16, 2021
Biden Wins Corporate Support
By Mike McManus

The White House moved from carrot to stick last week when President Joe Biden introduced a mandate for companies with 100 or more employees to require their workforce to be vaccinated.

The need to act to pressure 80 million unvaccinated people to get their shot has grown as the number of COVID-19 deaths has soared to 1,800 deaths per day and 170,000 new cases per day. These figures are at the highest levels since early March. In Kentucky one-third of new cases are under age 18.

Biden said the new requirements are a step to "combat those blocking public health" noting that 80 million Americans have "failed to get the shot."

Encouragingly, business leaders have responded positively. Brian Huseman, vice president of Amazon, stated, "We're proud to work with the Biden Administration to increase access to affordable high quality, FDA-authorized tests, to keep us moving toward full recovery."

Biden praised the companies that already implemented mandates, such as United Airlines, Disney, Tyson Foods "and even Fox News."

United Airlines announced last month that all employees would have to be vaccinated by Sept. 25; the vast majority of its pilots and flight attendants have already gotten their shots. This week the airline also said anyone refusing to be vaccinated for religious reasons would have to stay home until the pandemic "meaningfully recedes."

After meatpacking plants became early hotbeds for viral transmission, the meat producer Tyson Foods said last month that workers in its facilities would have be vaccinated by Nov. 1.

Joshua Bolten, President of the Business Roundtable, a group of chief executives from such companies as Amazon, Walmart and Home Depot, said in a statement, "Business Roundtable welcomes the Biden Administration's continued vigilance in the fight against COVID. America's business leaders know how critical vaccination and testing are in defeating the pandemic."

CVS Health told NBC News that it applauds companies' decisions to implement vaccination mandates, adding that "vaccinating more Americans is clearly the most effective way to prevail over the pandemic."

Biden also issued an executive order that requires federal employees and contractors to get inoculated, a rule that will affect more than 2 million employees.

However, there is resistance in surprising areas. An upstate New York hospital announced it will stop delivering babies this month after several staffers in the maternity department resigned over the hospital system's coronavirus vaccine mandate. Six unvaccinated maternity staffers at Lewis County General Hospital have resigned in recent days.

"The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies," the hospital's director, Gerald Cayer, stated. He added that 165 hospital staffers, 27% of the workforce, remain unvaccinated.

By contrast, the American Hospital Association, the nation's largest hospital association, has called for mandatory vaccination of all health workers, citing the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. However, some staffers have chosen to resign or be fired instead of getting the shots.

For example, more than 150 health care workers who did not comply with the vaccine mandate at Houston Methodist, resigned or were fired in June. And 30 workers at Lewis County General Hospital in upstate New York have resigned, halting the delivering of babies.

COVID cases are growing so fast in some areas that patients needing intensive care are not being served, and are dying as a result. Ray Martin DeMonia needed cardiac surgery. His hospital had to contact 43 hospitals to find one to serve him. A hospital was finally located, but it was 200 miles away. He died at age 73 of cardiac arrest before he could get there.

Such tragedies are utterly unnecessary. That's why Biden's demand that companies with 100 or more employees should require all to be vaccinated. Hopefully, within a month or two, millions of Americans will get their shots. COVID-sparked deaths will plunge, and hospitals will begin serving those like DeMonia who are now dying needlessly.

President Biden's leadership and that of many companies is very welcome.

_________________________

Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.com. Hit Search for any topic.

 

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