You know how when you hear a song or a new word that you haven’t heard before, all of a sudden you start hearing it everywhere? Like you never heard anyone say the word “phygital” and all of a sudden it’s everywhere as if some sort of tipping point has been reached.
Today was that tipping point for vaccinations. All of a sudden, all the hand-waving was replaced by action. During the course of today I heard the following news:
- The Veterans Administration mandated vaccines for its healthcare workers
- New York City mandated vaccines or weekly testing for all City workers.
- The State of CA mandated vaccines or weekly testing for all of its workforce
And in what will be the straw that breaks the unwilling-to-be-vaccinated camel’s back, the City of SF Bar Owners Alliance adopted an agreement that their 300 affiliated bars will require proof of vaccination in order for you to come inside for a drink. Now that there is some good old fashioned coercion that might just work.
But if you really want proof that it may be possible to return from Hell, get this: the US District Court in…TEXAS…upheld a decision by a health system employer to require their employees be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs. Texas, I tip my hat to you. According to the Judge, “there was no coercion because an employee who did not want to be vaccinated could simply choose to work elsewhere.” The U.S. Justice Department has declared that employers’ decision to require workers be vaccinated is fully consistent with federal law. Given this, I am betting that the tipping point will soon be a tipping tsunami.
Today was the day we heard the song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” in the morning, and then heard it again on every station all day long. Catchy tune.
I’m sorry if you happen to be a blog reader of mine who is not a fan of the COVID vaccinations, and you don’t like this piece. You know what? Honestly, that isn’t true. I’m actually sorry for me and all of the other people like me who have done the right thing and gotten their shot because, as Governor Ivey of Alabama so aptly put it, it is the voluntarily unvaccinated people who are to blame for the resurgence of this COVID nightmare. ALABAMA. So if Texas and Alabama are on board, it’s time for the rest of us to put on our boots and get walking to the closest vaccine pop-up.
It is absolutely true that there are some people who can’t get vaccinated (mostly kids under age 12) and some people who must not get vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons (although they are few). But legitimate medical reasons do not include political affiliation, just not liking it, thinking there are microchips in the vaccines, or believing that your opinion is more valid than science. Nope. Nope. Nope.
I have had it with masks and fear and if I have to continue to live with both because you think Dr. Fauci is the mini-me to Dr. Evil Bill Gates, that’s too bad. You have made your problem my problem, and if it’s all the same to you, you can keep your problems to yourself. Stay unvaccinated if you wish, but please don’t hang out where people who are trying to stay healthy congregate. You do not have the right to take other people’s freedoms and other people’s lives. Like it or not, we are all stuck on this 3000 mile island together (and that doesn’t even include those who are also here in adjoining countries). As such, we need to act like a community, not like no one else matters. You may not like your neighbor, but there’s no avoiding them at the grocery store. We are all in each others’ soup.
The fact that mandates are popping up all over is not a surprise. I was pretty sure that when we tried to lure people to vaccines with sugar (lottery tickets, payments, doughnuts, sports events) that it would only work for those who planned to get vaccinated anyway but just hadn’t gotten around to it. They just needed a little positive reinforcement. It was pretty clear that in order to get the rest of the unwilling masses, we would have to do something more drastic: deprive people of jobs, eliminate dinner out, stand in the way of a good drink with friends – in other words, make it difficult to do anything and everything people need or want to do unless they roll up their sleeves and take it like a…citizen.
What we’ve got here is some classic behavioral economics and living in the healthcare world has proven nothing if it hasn’t proven this: everyone responds to different motivations and sometimes you have to put the fear of God or extreme misery into people to get them to act. Some are motivated by positive reinforcement, so I’m all for that when it works. But for those who aren’t motivated by the right things, then in the very paraphrased words of French President Macron last week, do not let them eat cake. Not in a café, not in a bar, not at work, not in a car. Au revoir to those who don’t like the rules of modern society.
I can understand why people are nervous, but I can’t understand why people can’t get over it at this point. Over 1 billion people have been fully vaccinated worldwide – 1/3 of those in the U.S.. While there have been some challenges, those sad incidents don’t even come close to what COVID itself has wrought, with more than 4 million dead, including over 611,000 Americans.
And thus, I welcome the tipping point, the watershed moment, the crossroads to which we have come. To drink or not to drink, that is the question! If you want to drink, you gotta get a vaccine – a shot for a shot as it were—and I’m just fine with that. It’s damn hard to drink through those masks, and it is high time we get back to living without fear.