Viewpoints: Are Vaccine Passports The Key To Travel?; Can Employers Legally Mandate Vaccination?
Opinion writers weigh in on these issues and more.
Can Vaccine Passports Help Reopen International Travel?
After more than a year of sheltering at home, people are itching to travel internationally again — especially those who’ve been sitting on credits from trips canceled in 2020. Airlines would like nothing more than to see borders reopened. While the industry supports continued mask mandates, physical distancing and other safety measures, they are banking on vaccinations to loosen the more cumbersome international testing and quarantine requirements. In the U.S., the airline industry has called on the Biden administration to update Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to exempt vaccinated international travelers from current Covid testing requirements. In Europe, Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair Holdings Plc, argues that the litmus tests for maintaining travel restrictions should be hospitalizations and deaths. “Once you’ve eliminated that risk with vaccinations, frankly I think people are going to rebel. They’re not going to be willing to be locked up,” O’Leary said in an interview with Bloomberg TV last month. “Covid will become — I mean it will still be with us — but it will be much more I think similar to the annual flu, the annual cold, because of the success of vaccinations.” (Brooke Sutherland and Sam Fazeli, 4/5)
Employers Can Require Workers To Get Authorized Covid-19 Vaccines
Covid-19 vaccines offer a way out of the global crisis that has upended — and cut short — lives for more than a year. Three vaccines have now received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. One question that employers and universities must rapidly consider and act upon is whether to mandate that returning employees and students be vaccinated. Some employers are starting to require Covid-19 vaccines, and Rutgers University became the first university to mandate them for students and employees. (Dorit R. Reiss, I. Glenn Cohen and Carmel Shachar, 4/5)
The Washington Post:
Vaccine Passports And The Tough Questions We Haven’t Confronted
In the next couple of months, America’s vaccination program is likely to undergo a radical shift. Suddenly gone will be today’s world of vaccine scarcity, where the anxious and eager spend hours scouring the Web for elusive appointments. We will enter the land of vaccine overabundance, where public health officials prod, wheedle and beg hesitant adults to please come in and get their shots. At that point, we’ll collectively confront questions that have mostly been theoretical: What’s the best way to overcome the understandable anxiety of those who worry about undetected dangers of novel vaccine technologies? How do we locate vaccination centers to be convenient for people in rural areas? Most controversial will be this question: What circumstances justify requiring vaccination? Can it be mandatory for someone to work in a nursing home, enroll in a public school, attend a concert, get on an airplane? Which is to say, how much risk should the rest of us have to accept to respect the conscience rights and bodily autonomy of fellow citizens who don’t want to get vaccinated? (Megan McArdle, 4/3)
Dallas Morning News:
Texas’ Registry Of Critical Vaccine Information Needs A Boost
As more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, some wonder about the reason for government tracking vaccinations. Currently, every state maintains a vaccine registry, which has been vital infrastructure to our public health. It is a resource for our citizens, enabling them to not have to keep paper vaccination records, which can easily be lost through natural disasters or moving, or to track down previous vaccine providers who may have closed their offices. A state registry also provides information for health care professionals to target therapies or interventions to prevent the spread of infectious diseases while working to maintain privacy for our citizens. Federal and state regulations already require COVID-19 vaccine administration to be reported to ImmTrac2, the Texas state registry used to track all vaccinations. This is the only way for state and federal health officials to know when we’ve reached a point where enough people are protected from disease, that the spread of COVID-19 will be minimized, preventing unnecessary illness and deaths. Additionally, knowing which populations are and aren’t vaccinated helps uncover any disparities in access or distribution. ( Dr. Seth D. Kaplan, Dr. Jason V. Terk, Dr. Joyce Mauk and Dr. Sandra McKay, 4/5)
The Intersection Of Black Women, COVID And Death Rates
Black Americans have died of COVID-19 at much higher rates than white Americans. It is well understood that the driver of these racial disparities is racism and social inequality, not genetics. In contrast, many researchers have assumed that sex disparities in COVID-19 mortality are largely due to differences in biology. Our research challenges this narrative about COVID-19 sex differences. COVID-19 offers an example of how a focus on male-female sex differences, without looking at intersecting variables, can obscure important determinants of individual risk. (Tamara Rushovich and Sarah S. Richardson, 4/5)
The New York Times:
How COVID Can Change Your Personality
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found the latest stage of the pandemic hard in its own distinct way. The cumulative effect of a year of repetition, isolation and stress has induced a lassitude — a settling into the familiar, with feelings of vulnerability. The shock of a year ago has been replaced by a sluggish just-getting-to-the-end. I’ve got the same scattered memory issues many others in this Groundhog Day life describe: walking into a room and wondering why I went there; spending impressive amounts of time looking for my earbuds; forgetting the names of people and places outside my COVID bubble. (David Brooks, 4/5)
Why I’m Still In Pandemic Mode, Four Weeks After My Second Vaccine Dose
It’s been four weeks since I received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but very little has changed for me. I’m still living in pandemic mode. The only difference is that when I’m out for a walk, I no longer step off the sidewalk and onto the street when I approach someone who’s not wearing a mask. Turns out, “cave mentality” is a thing. Though we show off our vaccine cards like a winning lottery ticket, many people are reluctant to venture back into the world. One of my friends recently declared that she’s never going to eat in a restaurant again. I’m not taking it that far, though. I’m looking forward to doing fun things again — just not today or tomorrow. That might not be such a bad thing since federal health officials are warning us about “impending doom” from a potential fourth surge of the virus. (Dahleen Glanton, 4/5)