Perspectives: Should Health Care Workers Be Mandated To Get The Vaccine?; To Mask Or Not To Mask?
Opinion writers weigh in on these covid and vaccine issues.
It's Time To Require Healthcare Workers To Get Vaccinated
As COVID-19 vaccines become increasingly available to all segments of our population, a real balance must be struck between personal choice and public safety. Nowhere is this issue more significant than in the healthcare community itself.With rare exceptions, the vaccines have proved safe and effective in preventing symptomatic COVID as well as pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission of the infection. Still, the prospect of vaccinations engenders great hesitancy and resistance in many quarters. For some, it is a distrust of any governmentally sponsored program. For others it is a deep-seated belief in personal freedom. Still others reject the science. Conspiracy theories, fertility concerns and suspicions as to potentially adverse long-term effects are difficult to overcome, even in the face of persuasive evidence to the contrary. While these tensions may disappoint vaccine advocates in the public health community, it is time to accept this reality. It may well be impossible to convince broad segments of our society as to the necessity, indeed the social responsibility, of vaccination, but the debate sharpens when considering the discrete population of healthcare workers. (Dr. Bruce Farber, 5/13)
CDC Says No Masks Are Needed If Vaccinated. But There Are Plenty Of Reasons To Wear Them.
We sat outside together to write this article, two fully vaccinated physicians. We showed up wearing masks and looked at each other as we sat down: “Do we take them off now? ”This is the Great Mask Debate. (Dr. Gunisha Kaur, physician and human rights researcher, and Dr. Natalia S. Ivascu, cardiac anesthesiologist and intensivist, 5/13)
Los Angeles Times:
Time To Trash Your Face Mask? Not So Fast
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday announced that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may participate in activities indoors without wearing face masks or observing social distancing, even those in crowded settings. It had previously said vaccinated people could lose the mask when outdoors, which is pretty safe even for unvaccinated people. “We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a media briefing Thursday. (5/13)
The Covid-19 Vaccine Patent Waiver Debate Is A Distraction
The U.S. decision to support a temporary waiver of intellectual-property protections for Covid-19 vaccines won’t end debate on the issue, much less end the pandemic. Reaching a formal agreement could take months and even then may not accelerate vaccine production; opposition from countries such as Germany could yet doom any compromise. Governments, pharmaceutical companies and activists should be doing everything in their power now to scale up manufacturing, rather than hoping a waiver will solve the problem. (5/12)
Pandemic Hit Black And Latino Communities Hardest. Texas Must Address The Root Causes.
For nearly 20 years, Guadalupe had worked in the same accounting job for the same company in Fort Bend County. Still, when the firm announced cutbacks amid COVID-19 last May, Guadalupe’s name was on the layoff list. Losing a paycheck wasn’t her only concern. “How was I going to survive without my medicine?” asked Guadalupe, whose last name is being withheld to protect her medical privacy. (Shao-Chee Sim and Ezemenari M. Obasi, 5/14)
COVID-19 New Normal Calls For New Slogan: 'No Shirt, No Shoes – No Vaccination – No Service'
A return to normalcy and life as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic is the Holy Grail for America. And while that remains months away with only 35% of the nation fully vaccinated, a semblance of normality is already possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, already pretty conservative about pandemic guidelines, says people who have received their shots can congregate even inside without masks or distancing. (5/13)
The Washington Post:
Herd Immunity Is Not A Helpful Concept For Covid-19. It’s Time To Retire It.
Americans are unlikely to achieve herd immunity for covid-19, as public health experts have noted lately. But they also don’t need to in order to resume life free of the virus. In fact, it’s long past time that we do away with the concept as a goal for the pandemic. The term herd immunity is primarily used in infectious-disease modeling, and it refers to the point at which enough people have immunity such that disease transmission can’t be sustained. But the concept is most useful in closed populations, such as a ship, a nursing home or a herd of cows, and it has little relevance in the real world, which is far more interconnected. There is no case in which herd immunity has been achieved through natural infections aside from select, contained circumstances, yet it has become an outsize talking point in public discourse for the coronavirus. (Abraar Karan and Julie Parsonnet, 5/13)