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US vaccine mandates are a threat to democratic values

US companies like Walmart and Disney said this week all employees must be vaccinated, while Joe Biden said all federal employees must be vaccinated or face masking, testing and distancing requirements.

Some schools, universities, hospitals, financial services, tech companies, retailers, entertainment industries and local governments have announced similar policies. And this has become more of a political issue than it is a health issue.

Health care officials indicated earlier this summer that they were reluctant to mandate the vaccine and were waiting for the Food and Drug Administration to grant full approval for at least one of the available vaccines. But the decisions this week by top hospital officials to move forward without the full FDA approval reflect a landscape that has shifted dramatically in just two weeks.

It is not a landscape of covid19 cases going up but a landscape of civil liberties being eroded in the name of health emergency. In Texas, more than 150 health-care workers who did not comply with a Houston-based hospital system’s vaccine mandate were fired or resigned, more than a week after a federal judge upheld vaccine mandate policy. The hospital system announced April 1 that staffers would need to be vaccinated to keep their jobs.

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