Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Dr. Kavita Patel Out'Chere Calling For An mRNA Jab Mandate And Jab Passports

thehill |  In the current phase of this ever-changing pandemic, we are witnessing the emergence of two Americas. One where fully-vaccinated Americans often remain highly reluctant to remove masks with examples of “mask shaming.” At the opposite pole, another country where large unmasked crowds gather in public, such as at sports events, unclear of who has or has not been vaccinated. What links both of these Americas? Neither one is following the CDC’s updated COVID-19 recommendations.

Recommendations are often complex and confusing. Trust in science and the CDC, damaged by politicization, has deteriorated. As an example of how acute these challenges are — four out of every 10 health care workers remain unvaccinated. Recommendations alone are not enough. New requirements for vaccinations and reporting are required to move the country forward that will “open” the country back up in ways that are practical and safe at the same time.

The country needs to implement vaccine requirements, especially in high-priority settings including hospitals, nursing homes and schools. Without vaccine requirements the country will face significant difficulties and delays in safely opening back up. In turn, public health will be compromised, and the economy will face avoidable burdens. These types of vaccination requirements aren’t new and are done routinely in hospitals and schools. There are several reasons why these measures are needed.

First and most important is the direct health consequences of unvaccinated individuals in critical settings. The lack of a vaccine requirement in health care settings has resulted in superspreader events and preventable deaths posing a health risk to patients. It is reasonable for many patients to assume that health care workers are all immunized. Additional critical settings where requirements should be considered are institutions of education or childcare, transportation, law enforcement and hospitality industries -all places where close contact indoors can pose risks, particularly to infants and children for whom there is currently no available Covid-19 vaccine. While some universities are moving ahead with mandates, a disturbing trend has erupted: Public colleges in red states are less likely to have a vaccine requirement compared to private universities in blue states. Law enforcement, including police officers were some of the earliest eligible essential works for vaccines, but in same large urban areas such as Columbus, Ohio only 28 percent of the employed police officer have received a vaccine to date.

Vaccination requirements will need to be augmented through mechanisms to demonstrate proof of vaccination and reporting requirements. Without this type of transparency, rebuilding the social trust needed to return to normalcy will continue to lag. We are in a transitional period where the number of immunized Americans is increasing but we are not yet at a level where mitigation measures can easily be lifted, if at all. Federal officials should work with state and local authorities to consider how best to establish fair and accurate reporting mechanisms — without overburdening already stressed businesses — to reflect actual levels of immunization. Employers, especially large ones, are already embracing vaccine requirements partly because they know that customers might choose to seek services elsewhere, which could have significant financial impact.