By George Schroeder | LTVN Managing Editor
I am fed up with vaccine mandates and the blatant discrimination and disrespect the unvaccinated are receiving across the country. I have been inspired by those resisting, even under the threat of losing their jobs or livelihoods, and it’s high time someone at this publication addressed the issue.
I’m glad the university has not instituted a vaccine mandate because students and staff at Baylor are smart enough to make their own health decisions. The same goes for outside Baylor. I will stand with anyone who doesn’t want to get a vaccine amid the most politically-charged health crisis in our nation’s history.
Allison Williams was a sports reporter who appeared on the sidelines of many college basketball and football games since 2011, but she has been forced out by ESPN and the Walt Disney Company over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In an Instagram video, Williams explained that her decision to not get vaccinated came from a medical standpoint, as she and her husband are trying to have a second child, but it also compromised her moral beliefs.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims there is no evidence the vaccine causes fertility problems, Williams isn’t alone in her hesitancy (and I’m not saying the CDC should always be taken as gospel truth). According to the Atlantic, only around 25% of expectant mothers have gotten at least one dose of the shot. Rumors have caused speculation into many aspects of the vaccine, and while many concerns may not be founded in reality, many reasons why someone won’t get the shot are perfectly valid and should be respected.
According to current statistics from the CDC, since Jan. 1, 2020, it is essentially more likely for those in the 18-29 age group in the United States to die from influenza and pneumonia than it is for them to die from COVID-19, and they are almost 10 times more likely to die from unintentional injury, suicide or homicide. While the COVID-19 death rate does go up for older age groups, so do the rates for other causes of death, and it is not until ages 50-64 and 65+ that COVID-19 death rates become seriously significant.
Furthermore, the CDC quietly updated comorbidity statistics, which are not widely reported. A recent study conducted in Tennessee found that almost 65% of those who died from COVID-19 had comorbidities — a statistic which, according to the study, “mirrors the rest of the nation.” On top of that, as of November 2020, according to the National Institutes of Health, out of the over 900,000 estimated hospitalizations caused by COVID-19, 64% could be directly attributed to obesity, diabetes, hypertension or heart failure.
All of this is to say that people like Williams need to be able to make personal health decisions for themselves. And healthy or not, why on earth should she be forced to get a vaccine that does not stop transmission of the disease? She shouldn’t. No one should.
The vaccine does lower transmission, but it does not end it. It merely reduces the chances of hospitalization and death, so you can still spread COVID-19 with or without it. According to the Mayo Clinic, theoretically, if 94% of Americans received the vaccine, COVID-19 would essentially be eradicated in the United States. However, that isn’t going to happen for a long time, and forcing people to get the vaccine is the wrong way to achieve that high number.
Scared of the unvaccinated? Get the vaccine, and don’t worry about it. CNN reports data showing the survival rate of COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated is 99.999%. The vaccine protects you, not someone else. We are getting to the point as a nation where the rising number of vaccinated individuals is going to hit a wall. Some people just will not get the vaccine at this time — or ever. The way to protect yourself is taking the vaccine, not forcing someone else to take it.
It’s simply stupid that companies are pushing their employees out over a vaccine for a virus that poses an extremely low threat to most people. For example, Southwest Airlines has reversed course on a plan to place employees and pilots on unpaid leave if they were not vaccinated by Dec. 8. Along with many other police unions across the country, Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police is currently resisting a mandate aimed at city employees. And In-N-Out is “fiercely” disagreeing with the notion that it will become the “vaccine police for any government,” according to Arnie Wensinger, In-N-Out’s chief legal and business officer.
Unions are interested in preserving bargaining rights, and many companies are resisting mandates to protect their commerce and employees. Especially with unprecedented inflation and poor economic recovery, they are also in the business of protecting jobs.
Vaccine mandates in companies are not widely popular in the first place. According to a Gallup poll, only 52% of those surveyed are in favor of a workplace mandate, and 38% oppose it. With a majority in support, however, why are these anti-mandate stances working? It’s because of solidarity.
Vaccinated or not, Southwest pilots and employees stood together, preserving the right to make medical decisions for them all. In-N-Out is protecting both its employees and customers from discrimination. Police unions are no longer simply holding the “thin blue line” but are also now holding the line against the mandates in their cities, together.
This is so important to understand: I’m not arguing for you to not get vaccinated, as I am vaccinated of my own free will. But I am saying that the time has come for the vaccinated to stand with their fellow unvaccinated citizens in support of their medical freedom. Allison Williams isn’t the only person who has been forced out of her job, and without a united front, she won’t be the last. At the same time, unfortunately, without people like Williams standing up for their beliefs in the midst of severe adversity, the nation won’t be woken up to the harsh realities faced by those who dare resist a vaccine for a virus less threatening than the flu.
The story isn’t over for Williams, though. The Daily Wire announced on Friday it had brought her on board to lead a special sports series, aimed at providing agenda-free sports coverage to the news outlet. Immediately following the publication of the announcement, Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro posted on both Instagram and Twitter saying, “They cancel. We uncancel.” This is the mentality we need to form.
It’s time for the American people to stand up to governmental and private overreach. Stand in solidarity with your coworkers. Stand in solidarity with your students and peers. Stand in solidarity with your customers and employees. It’s time to stop the mandates and start trusting the American people to make the best decisions for themselves. It’s time to stand with those courageous enough to stand up to discrimination and adversity. Stand up for what is right. Whether you like it or not, you still shouldn’t have to be vaccinated.