They are not “anti-vaxxers”, they are not “misinformed”, and they are not “terrorists”… They are your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, your family members, and most importantly, they are Americans – and they have basic human rights. These individuals are funny, talented, gifted, smart, and successful. They are loving, caring, kind, and generous. They are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, African, and middle eastern, and have a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. Since January these individuals, along with everyone else, have been under constant pressure to take the COVID-19 vaccine. They have been shamed, criticized, and defamed – and yet they stand resolute in their decision. They are making a perfectly rational choice between two alternatives – take their chances with a disease for which they know the risks OR take a new vaccine for which they do not know the risks.
Today the President of the United States of America announced a plan to force eighty million Americans to inject themselves with a substance with which they are not comfortable. Joe Biden, growing impatient with free Americans not making the decision he wants them to make regarding COVID-19 vaccination, decided to employ coercive tactics to induce submission. The message was clear: Take the COVID-19 vaccine or lose your livelihood. The United States government will be forcing their employees and contractors to take the vaccine, and will be forcing companies to mandate vaccination to their employees or require weekly testing. Read more of the details here. Let’s take a step back for just a moment to look at the bigger picture. The COVID-19 vaccines are unique in so many ways:
- They have been the most rapidly developed vaccines in modern history
- They employ a technology that is completely new in the treatment of human beings
- A typical vaccine development timeline takes 5 to 10 years, and sometimes longer, to assess whether the vaccine is safe and efficacious in clinical trials and complete the regulatory approval processes
- The long term effects (Pfizer began clinical trials on May 7th, 2020) are completely unknown, and therefore, cannot be called scientifically “safe” (see definition of scientific method)
- The makers of these vaccines have zero liability if you are harmed by the vaccines
- Data from the CDC’s Vaccines Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), as of September 9, 2021, shows 47,715 Deaths following COVID-19 vaccination and over 623,000 reports of the following event types: “Life Threatening”, “Permanent Disability”, “Congenital Abnormality / Birth Defect”, “Hospitalized”, “Emergency Room / Office Visit”, or “Emergency Room”
- If an individual is under a certain age and has relatively good health, their chances of death from COVID-19 are extremely low (See death rate distributions by demographic on CDC website).
Based on these basic facts, why would we ever consider castigating individuals who are not comfortable with these vaccines? Although some may say the VAERS data does not necessarily constitute a causal relationship with the COVID-19 vaccine, one could make the same argument for reported hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 itself.
In President Biden’s speech, he spoke to the vaccinated individuals and stated that they are at extremely low risk of experiencing adverse effects from COVID-19, and that they had absolutely nothing to worry about. In the next breath, he then explains that he is implementing these new strict rules to protect the vaccinated people from the unvaccinated people… This does not make any sense. Where is the logic here?
If you are a vaccinated person who is not in danger from getting COVID-19, then why would an unvaccinated person concern you? The only people who should be concerned are the unvaccinated, as they (according to Biden) are the only ones being hospitalized and dying (albeit at a much lower rate that in 2020). As far as hospitals overflowing, and the potential for other patients to not receive care, this can be laid squarely at the feet of our medical leaders, governmental institutions, and the media for refusing to investigate and report on treatments for COVID-19 that would help reduce hospitalizations and death. In fact, many posts, mentions, or indications of treatments have been censored or banned from social media and many people trying to research and report on them have been ridiculed, defamed, or banned. It seems the only option the government and/or media wants us to have is the vaccine. Why is this, exactly?
If your company has a set of core values, they probably center around a few in particular -Inclusion and Diversity, Integrity, Together, For Better, among others. But how might a vaccine mandate impact your company culture?
Cultural implications of a vaccine mandate:
Inclusion Exclusion and Diversity
If we decide to castigate ANY employees because they refuse to take this vaccine, we are violating one of our core goals of inclusion. Let me be clear – castigation is not just firing an employee, but it is relegating them to a life in confinement or keeping them from in-person interactions at offices, events, or client sites. This will limit their careers and they will feel excluded and be excluded. It is absolutely not necessary.
If we cave to the pressures of the external world with or without realizing the implications of our actions, we will have lost our integrity. This may be the biggest example of groupthink that the world has seen since the 1930s in Germany. Casting people aside for their beliefs or personal medical decisions, restricting their ability go to restaurants, enjoy entertainment, attend certain universities, and now hold a decent job – There is no integrity in participating in this type of treatment of people.
Although you may be tempted to think that we must be “together” in a decision to all be vaccinated, this takes the individual out of the picture. Is this a culture we want? A culture where we all think alike, and cast aside those with different viewpoints or opinions? We are talking about a personal medical decision. Let’s be TOGETHER in supporting each other in such an important individual decision and respecting that decision. Otherwise, this will tear us apart.
For Better* *only for those who do as we say*
Regardless of how each of us may feel about the safety and/or effectiveness of these vaccines, we must respect the individual. Pressuring people, coercing or intimidating them, or actively (or passively) participating in destroying their careers and way of life – This is the lowest form of respect. This is not respecting our people. We should be openly leading and telling our people to respect those around them, and not to shame or dismiss their individual decisions.
To the unvaccinated: I want you to know that you are respected, valued, and loved. You are not alone, and you are perfectly within your rights to make such a personal medical decision. I want to apologize that there have been too few leaders in our companies and in our governmental institutions that are willing to stand up and say these words. This should be the message every day. The ones who are now oppressing you know you are within your rights, which is why they tried so hard to convince you. Their case, message, and education on the issue was not up to par, so they became desperate and began to pressure you, ridicule you, and call you names. Now they are angry and wish to do whatever it takes to make you comply with their demands, and they are threatening your livelihood and your ability to live a normal life. Please forgive them, for many of them do not know the true impact of what they are doing. I know it is scary and the future is unclear, but I want to encourage you to stand tall and do not back down to these inhumane and unconstitutional tactics. If you take the vaccine, make sure you are making that decision for the right reasons. Having integrity means you sometime have to endure hardships when standing for something that is morally right. I pray you make a decision with which you are comfortable, free from coercion, pressure, or manipulation.
To the vaccinated: I urge you to respect your fellow Americans. I urge you to stand for what is right. I know it feels good to be part of the majority and the new “accepted” class, but this is not who we are. Please stand for the rights of those you may not agree with, because someday those rights may not be there for you. I pray that good men and women in leadership positions will stand up and put a stop to this madness before it escalates any further. While the hardships and human rights violations of our past are being scrutinized, groupthink in our nation is causing our leaders to be complicit in what is shaping up to be an equally atrocious outcome, all in the name of “the greater good”. History will be the judge of our actions. Through all of this, let us not leave a legacy that, again, ends in shame.
THE VIEWS AND OPPINIONS IN THIS ARTICLE ARE MY OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THAT OF MY EMPLOYER.