Premium

Healthcare Workers Protest Forced COVID-19 Vaccinations to Keep Job

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

According to some, healthcare workers went from heroes to now being zeroes for protesting the Henry Ford Health Care system in Southeast Michigan on Saturday for not wanting to get the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their job.

Last month, Bob Riney, Henry Ford’s COO and president of health care operations, announced that all of the health systems workers and people who contract with them would have to be vaccinated. The total number of people that would include tops 30,000 and was widely praised and also criticized as overreach. Yesterday, the first scheduled protest happened with workers of the Henry Ford system and the protestors were not pleased with the plan.

From the Detroit Free Press

A nurse at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who asked to remain anonymous because of fear of professional repercussions, said she has worked there for 20 years, and she’s scared she’s going to lose her job. She’s not anti-vaccine, she said, she’s anti-experimental vaccine.

“We have the right to choose, you know, whether it’s the right choice or not, nobody knows at this point, but they should not force it on us or demand our jobs,” she said.

This lady is absolutely correct.

The FDA normally takes years to do the data collection and see how any drug it studies acts in the experimental phase and gauge any reaction to it. Operation Warp Speed, which was implemented last year by the Trump administration, allowed the FDA to work with pharmaceutical companies to get a vaccine out and into the public as fast as possible. What that simply means is that the years of data normally studied before approval is granted will not be collected for…years. We will not know what if any issues will arise until that time has passed.

Healthcare workers are more attuned to this reality. According to the recent Forbes article published last month, the workers at the Henry Ford health system in Michigan are not alone.

Covid vaccination rates are appallingly low in many parts of the US, even among health care workers. How should we respond? Should there be vaccine mandates? What are the downsides?

The rate of vaccination is pretty much inverse of the education level of staff. Among practicing physicians, 96% have been vaccinated.* The rate drops to <50% among nurses and even more among aides, especially in nursing homes, even though outbreaks and deaths have been the worst in that setting. Did you know that 40% of COVID deaths were in nursing homes? More than 1500 nursing home staff died as well; an op-ed in the Washington Post says caregivers have the most dangerous job in America. Will mandates backfire and cause an exodus of staff, when there are already shortages?

While nurses do not have to go to school as long as a doctor does, they do have to get an education in the medical field to be able to work. Nurses and their counterparts are the frontline workers and many times are the eyes and ears of doctors and specialists. Those nurses in a number of areas that are less than 50% vaccinated should at least give pause to those operators of health systems wanting to shove a mandate down their throats.

As another nurse from the Henry Ford Health System said in the Free Press article…

Moehanid Talia, an independent hospitalist physician who works out of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, said unvaccinated employees “literally have a gun to their head. You either get the vaccine or you’re out of a job. … That’s the big issue. They have no choice.”

“I can retire, but not everyone has that ability,” said Talia, of Farmington Hills, who attended the West Bloomfield protest. “If they don’t mandate it, I’ll continue working. If they do, I’ll quit.”

What if these forced mandates create an even bigger shortage of healthcare workers than we already have? Is it really worth forcing an issue of comply or flee before the normal process of data being collected and examined for this vaccine is completed? The Government has already had to admit a number of things that it has gotten wrong so far in regards to how COVID should be treated and also where it possibly has come from. How many more rushed proclamations need to be wrong before those with any sort of power say to slow down?

Following the science should mean waiting for enough information to come in to examine and make a reasonable analysis. Those nurses in Michigan and in other areas of the country know this and are following the age-old Greek phrase of “Do No Harm” as they should and thankfully they are.

Maybe the leaders of these medical systems should follow their lead instead of vice versa.