The mandate has arrived
September 10, 2021 7:30 AM   Subscribe

The President finally announced new requirements for vaccination. In the speech made Thursday, President Biden outlined new rules that would require all federal workers and contractors, as well as employees of all businesses with over 100 employees would be required to be vaccinated, or would face weekly testing and social distancing restrictions in the workplace.

The Federal Employee Unions are already pushing back against the mandate. And unsurprisingly, Republicans are not happy.

The plans include some limited exemptions for those with disability or medical issues, as well as providing home-testing kits in pharmacies at cost.

President Biden said in his speech,
"What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see?" he said. "We've made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We've been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So please, do the right thing."
posted by sharp pointy objects (205 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
*insert Donald Glover "Good!" meme here*
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:36 AM on September 10 [14 favorites]


My hope is that a lot of organizational leaders who’ve been afraid to take a stand on this can now shrug and say “well, it’s the law, don’t blame me.” Which I think was part of Biden’s intent.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 7:37 AM on September 10 [70 favorites]


The Federal Employee Unions are already pushing back against the mandate.

Not all of them. I know the NTEU (Treasury employees) believes the mandate is within the president's legal authority and is working more on reasonable implementation, so the way that the article in the (very conservative) Washington Times is misleading. And that makes me wonder about the others described in the article.
posted by praemunire at 7:40 AM on September 10 [26 favorites]


Paid time off for vaccine side effects, medicare for all, announcing the vaccine patent will be removed and massive amounts of vaccines will be sent over seas for free...there is so much more Biden could be doing. But this is a good start.
posted by stilgar at 7:44 AM on September 10 [35 favorites]


The media seems to have missed just how sick, so to speak, those of us who have been doing the right thing -- which involves no small amount of sacrifice -- are with the braying jackasses whose utterly politicized refusal helped give the Delta variant a foothold.

And it was refreshing to see Biden more or less state outright that some Republicans are playing games with their constituents' lives in order to hurt him politically. More of this, please.
posted by Gelatin at 7:47 AM on September 10 [92 favorites]


The new requirements could apply to as many as 100 million Americans -- close to two-thirds of the American workforce. (CNN)
Executive Order on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees (WhiteHouse.gov)
Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors (WhiteHouse.gov)
Path Out of The Pandemic, President Biden's COVID-19 Action Plan (WhiteHouse.gov), Requiring Employers to Provide Paid Time Off to Get Vaccinated: To continue efforts to ensure that no worker loses a dollar of pay because they get vaccinated, OSHA is developing a rule that will require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated or to recover if they are under the weather post-vaccination. This requirement will be implemented through the ETS.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:50 AM on September 10 [23 favorites]


What are the problems or objections to getting tested weekly? I mean, I realize it would be better not to have to do that, but there's a big old pandemic, and that sucks and makes life inconvenient. An "either/or" mandate seems so beyond reasonable to me.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:51 AM on September 10 [12 favorites]


there is so much more Biden could be doing.

Biden can't enact Medicare for all by presidential fiat. And if he could, Republicans could and would do much, much worse.

As Biden and his team are not complete idiots, they no doubt crafted yesterday's announced policies to survive the inevitable legal challenge.

Medicare for All, like Obamacare before it, is dependent on the US Senate, not the president.
posted by Gelatin at 7:51 AM on September 10 [36 favorites]


If the OSHA avenue doesn't work, let's hope the insurance companies ramp up the premiums for the unvaccinated. They're already surcharging for tobacco use so this shouldn't be a huge step.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:54 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


> there's a big old pandemic, and that sucks and makes life inconvenient

you have to remember that for some of those people, even when their family has died from COVID, none of this is real and it is all a mind control propaganda op to enslave True Americans. we are living in completely bifurcated realities.

i mean, i'm like fuck those people 100% but i'm just saying that's a significant source of the pushback in my neck of the stupid woods.
posted by glonous keming at 8:00 AM on September 10 [23 favorites]


"My hope is that a lot of organizational leaders who’ve been afraid to take a stand on this can now shrug and say “well, it’s the law, don’t blame me.” Which I think was part of Biden’s intent."

Abso-frigging-lutely. I know a lot of lobbyists, and a lot of corporate lawyers, and the consensus of everyone I've spoken to has been, "As soon as the FDA grants full approval, we're going to want to put in place a mandate for our employees -- this is expensive, it disrupts business operations, and vaccines work." And a bunch of corporations (and non-profits, and governmental units, and even churches) in solidly left-leaning places did in fact do that basically as soon as the approval came down.

But in a lot of other places, like parts of downstate Illinois, even the hospitals have been hesitant to put a mandate in place for employees, because they're already super short-staffed on nurses, they're afraid a bunch of employees will quit, and becoming the target of community rage about mask and vaccine mandates and left-wing politics is not really in their best interest either as a corporation, or as a healthcare provider to that community. And a lot, lot, lot of state and national level corporate lobbyists have been quietly lobbying governors in blue states and the federal government to put those mandates in place, so that they can point to a state or federal mandate, and sidestep questions about the corporation's politics and the corporation's decision-making.

And I mean, this is what a legitimately pro-business US government looks like, and this is what a government that's willing to make unpopular but correct decisions looks like. (And while Biden was not my guy, I am definitely loving his "shut the fuck up" energy. "Oh, you're going to throw a giant tantrum? That's okay, we're ignoring you.")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:04 AM on September 10 [91 favorites]


I am terrified now. Very scared of the irrational people's reaction to this.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:06 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


What are the problems or objections to getting tested weekly?

It’s an admission that COVID-19 is still real and still a threat. For large swathes of the unvaccinated, the pandemic is either over or never existed. Anything that suggests otherwise is anathema.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:08 AM on September 10 [26 favorites]


I had my morning call with a group of hospitals this morning, and this was a huge topic. We've been watching ICUs having to shut down services due to lack of staff, everyone is more on edge than ever, the explosion of Delta in the south has ground all our progress to a halt, and honestly, we need some kind of hope. I don't think Biden's plan goes far enough--mandating masks and proper ventilation in schools would be a huge step--but this, at least, could signal the end of the uncontrolled rampage of Delta.

We just watched a completely predictable disaster unfold, as schools reopened with no preparation. We knew exactly what would happen, and then it happened, and...there's no reaction. We can't keep playing stupid with this thing. We can't keep making exactly the same mistakes over and over, pretending that "normal" is a state that can be returned to without a massive, expensive, nationwide effort.

So this mandate makes sense to me. I'm not ready to cling to hope yet, especially not while waiting for the Labor Day spike to be measured, but...I'm willing to hope for hope.
posted by mittens at 8:09 AM on September 10 [41 favorites]


Getting tested weekly is a pain in the ass, and for your employer, even if the test is free, is a pain to track and enforce. Having you get your shots takes a lot less effort.

And it puts a clear penalty on being That Guy who causes extra problems at work. You can't hide in the crowd of people who may or may not be vaccinated.
posted by emjaybee at 8:14 AM on September 10 [33 favorites]


the article in the (very conservative) Washington Times is misleading

Is “very conservative” intended as a comedic understatement here? IIRC, the Washington Times is owned by the Moonies and is essentially unhinged screeds and conspiracy theories with no pretense of being anything else.
posted by acb at 8:16 AM on September 10 [43 favorites]


Ok, to be fair, I was trying to avoid any news source connected to Fox. Other than them, I'm not really aware of what the super-conservative outlets are, as my bubble pretty firmly excludes them.
posted by sharp pointy objects at 8:22 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Do we know when the mandate mandate takes effect? That is, how long do employers have to start requiring vaccinations?
posted by nickmark at 8:22 AM on September 10


Very scared of the irrational people's reaction to this.

Can it possibly be more dangerous than the status quo? COVID is extremely efficient at killing people.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:23 AM on September 10 [19 favorites]


I am terrified now. Very scared of the irrational people's reaction to this.

This is why I was glad to see several Republican governors announce their plans to sue the hell out of the Biden administration over this. Desperate people need hope, and lawsuits will provide a channel for that.

What happens when the suits fail is another matter, but that slow burn has been going on for a while.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 8:23 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]


And it puts a clear penalty on being That Guy who causes extra problems at work. You can't hide in the crowd of people who may or may not be vaccinated.

Unless you're in a state where the idiot Legislature and Saturday Night Reporter Slammaster governor passed a law against the advice of nearly every medical professional to make discrimination on basis of vaccination status illegal, and thus now employers have to require everyone to get tested weekly.

I love my fucking home state.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:23 AM on September 10 [8 favorites]


The other great thing is that the mandates give individual antivaxxers a face-saving off-ramp. "I didn't want to get vaccinated (conspiratorial grumbles) but I can't lose my job."
posted by airmail at 8:26 AM on September 10 [49 favorites]


What are the problems or objections to getting tested weekly?

The objection is to the guy who's saying they have to do it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on September 10 [18 favorites]


Self-insured companies are already instituting surcharges on unvaccinated employees (in the two weeks since Delta announced the $200 monthly surcharge, 20% of their unvaxxed workforce has gotten their first shot.) The interesting thing will be seeing what happens with insurance policies at the start of 2022. Insurance companies, as I understand it, can’t add a surcharge mid-year because that would be altering a contract. There’s two ways they could go with rates. One is surcharges which is by far the most fair avenue. The other is just to raise everyone’s rates. Another thing that may happen is that policies starting in the new year could be written so that Covid hospitalizations are not covered for those who are unvaccinated. Those of us who got vaccinated, especially those of us who got the shot as soon as it was available for everyone, have had enough of this bullshit from the anti-vaxxers. Why not testing? Because that’s a crutch that validates their “choice.” We should have been done with the pandemic by now and we could have been if it weren’t for these chucklefucks. I’m really happy that Biden is speaking out loud what a lot of us think.
posted by azpenguin at 8:28 AM on September 10 [24 favorites]


Very scared of the irrational people's reaction to this.

Can it possibly be more dangerous than the status quo? COVID is extremely efficient at killing people.
posted by BungaDunga


That doesn't make me less scared of violence though.
posted by tiny frying pan at 8:28 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


Paid time off for vaccine side effects

That's in the current plan, at least.
posted by damayanti at 8:28 AM on September 10 [12 favorites]


In Canada, the government recently required all federal employees be vaccinated. The US mandate seems to be go much further than that so I'm hoping that also moves the needle here. (I'm in Alberta and the conservative govt has made it clear vaccinate passports are a no go, even though around 3/4 of people support them).
posted by piyushnz at 8:29 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]


mandating masks and proper ventilation in schools would be a huge step

I have been hoping that a major part of our pandemic strategy would be more attention (and resources) going to improve ventilation in public schools and other public buildings. It seems like this could have been a good opportunity to address the shocking state of the actual infrastructure of public schooling, especially in more deprived areas such as rural schools and schools in poorer neighborhoods in cities. Vaccines are a very component of pandemic recovery and prevention, but so is infrastructure. And honestly I'm disappointed and dismayed that school and hospital ventilation in particular has been absent from the discussion.
posted by EllaEm at 8:30 AM on September 10 [24 favorites]


Imagine what headway would be made if the energy COVID-deniers put into maintaining their utterly untrue reality was focused on solving society's problems (climate, poverty, houselessness, healthcare, and on and on). Or just even the positive improvements in their own individual lives and relationships. Maintaining an untenable blackhole is just death.
posted by riverlife at 8:32 AM on September 10 [18 favorites]


Our open enrollment is in November and I fully expect our company to put in a surcharge for non-vaccinated status. We already have a tobacco use surcharge and a discount for completing annual wellness goals (basically a paper signed from your primary care saying you're doing what you need to). If there's a dollar to be saved, they're going for it. We have some vocal anti-vax minority in my office and we have a pool going as to when they'll quit, especially when the mandate comes to our 8000+ employees.
posted by msbutah at 8:32 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]




After some stupid, needless chaos, the San Francisco public schools finally reopened with universal masking, improved ventilation, provided PPE, and all staff required to be vaccinated and, ta dah!, "S.F. schools report no COVID outbreaks, even as delta overwhelms districts elsewhere."
posted by PhineasGage at 8:39 AM on September 10 [60 favorites]


"We have some vocal anti-vax minority in my office and we have a pool going as to when they'll quit"

I was surprised / not surprised to discover that one of the most vocal anti-vaxxers I know was quietly vaccinated the first week it was available, continued to rail against the evils of the vaccine and how nobody should get it, and claim they were unvaccinated. It was very much about social posturing within his right-wing community and performing the expected virtues of his in-group, but when it came to his personal safety he wanted the vaccine as fast as possible.

I am a tiny bit curious how many anti-vaxxers are going to be revealed as having been vaccinated posers this whole time when they don't quit their jobs and don't get fired. Like probably not that many? But there's going to be a few.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:39 AM on September 10 [74 favorites]


don't think it is flag-worthy, but, by "good for the goose..." principle, noting for the record that the wikipedia article on the unification church observes the term "moonie" is "still sometimes used and not always considered pejorative." no objection to foregoing characterization of that church or that newspaper.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:43 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


But there's going to be a few.

Tucker Carlson, for one...
posted by BungaDunga at 8:44 AM on September 10 [8 favorites]


This is also a bit of a derail but I think it's important to note that words like 'stupid' are considered ableist as hell and it'd do us all good to not have the comment section of this website look like an embarrassing shitshow of horrible language to future readers.
posted by paimapi at 8:46 AM on September 10 [9 favorites]




The interesting thing will be seeing what happens with insurance policies at the start of 2022.

Note that these decisions are being made now. (For example the Very Big Company I work for - which, like Delta, is self-insured - usually has health insurance enrollment starting around the beginning of October.)
posted by madcaptenor at 8:57 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


We are a heavily divided country. But when it comes to COVID vaccines and even vaccine mandates, not so much: "...vaccine mandates are popular, with supporters outnumbering opponents two-to-one." Majorities in 47 states support mandates. Even among Republicans, 45% approve of a mandate, and that share is increasing, albeit slowly.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:58 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]


it'd do us all good to not have the comment section of this website look like an embarrassing shitshow of horrible language to future readers.

Yes, I would much prefer to be on the record to future readers as calling the anti-vax folks by their proper nomenclature, "monstrous fuckbuckets of turds".
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:00 AM on September 10 [58 favorites]


This is also a bit of a derail but I think it's important to note that words like 'stupid' are considered ableist as hell and it'd do us all good to not have the comment section of this website look like an embarrassing shitshow of horrible language to future readers.

This is true. They're delusional MAGAts.
posted by mephron at 9:02 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Imagine what headway would be made if the energy COVID-deniers put into maintaining their utterly untrue reality was focused on solving society's problems (climate, poverty, houselessness, healthcare, and on and on). Or just even the positive improvements in their own individual lives and relationships.

Oh, in their thoughts that's exactly what they are doing. They believe that everyone should take responsibility for their own selves and make their own decisions about this - they believe that the onus should be on each one of us as individuals to decide whether or not the vaccine is right for them, and if my neighbor decides "it's not for me", well, so be it - I need to trust that he actually did put in the legwork and came to the conclusion that's best for him and I need to respect that.

I glibly said that the objection to the weekly testing was actually an objection to "the guy who was requiring it" - but that is only partially true, upon further reflection I think that there's also objection to the fact that it is a requirement in the first place - the issue is that the gov'mint is making me do something that I should be able to choose whether or not I want to do.

In an ideal world for them, I think, we need to trust that each of our neighbors will come to the right and logical conclusion, and we need to respect that each person is educating themselves and making the choice that suits their own circumstance best.

The problem is that the layman doesn't have the expertise to properly educate themselves about this, nor the time to do so, and so that "everyone should be freeeeeeee" approach falls flat there - but they don't want to give that up that easily.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:02 AM on September 10 [17 favorites]


The other great thing is that the mandates give individual antivaxxers a face-saving off-ramp. "I didn't want to get vaccinated (conspiratorial grumbles) but I can't lose my job."

I sure hope-so - but, I think it also provides an unfortunate on-ramp for; mass protests, insurrection and possible terrorism.

People protest(ed) mask-wearing - they protested shutdowns. Now they are being told that vaccines are mandatory?

I hope I am wrong.
posted by rozcakj at 9:04 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


What are the problems or objections to getting tested weekly? I mean, I realize it would be better not to have to do that, but there's a big old pandemic, and that sucks and makes life inconvenient. An "either/or" mandate seems so beyond reasonable to me.

The consistent framing on the hard right is that FREEDOM is priority one for Real Americans and everything else is a distant second. Thus, since this "pandemic" (which was either carefully planned by Dr. Fauci and the Wuhan labs for maximum death and disruption in order to destroy world economies and usher in the Great Reset and the New World Order, or is a harmless trifle with a 99%+ survival rate for Normal People and is no worse than a common cold and is being abused by tyrannical dictators to impose their will onto free citizens, depending on what day of the week it is) has had doubts cast upon it by Real Republican "News Sources," and the news media that Real Republicans view as serial liars keep insisting that it's real, OBVIOUSLY every attempt to mitigate the virus's spread is about CONTROL rather than safety.

What does the government gain from this control? Well, that's also enigmatic. Some claim that the vaccines contain secret tracking microchips controlled by Bill Gates in order to monitor all of our activities, in case the small box that Peggy the Piggly-Wiggly Cashier carries with her everywhere that contains GPS hardware isn't enough for the NSA to track Peggy's vital day-to-day activities. Some believe that it is all a test of will, and that once you have submitted to the government's insistence on safety measures they can force you to do anything else and (Far Side "...Then a miracle happens" chalkboard cartoon goes here) and then it's full Communism for America. But, mostly, it's all about Saint Ronnie's first commandment:

The federal government cannot tell Real Americans (read as: members of the conservative tribe) what they can or cannot do. Ever. Under any circumstances, for any purpose, no matter what.

That is what drives opposition to the vaccine and to testing, triply so since Biden stole^H^H^H^H^Hwon the election last fall. THEY want it to happen, so it is your patriotic duty to resist it. The virus is painted pink and covered by a Somebody Else's Problem field until you or your family members get it, so until that day, it is not real and the government has no business violating your sacred bodily integrity to find out if you have it or help prevent you from acquiring it.
posted by delfin at 9:05 AM on September 10 [34 favorites]


my BIL believes ^ 100%
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 9:07 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile: Denmark lifts all Covid restrictions as vaccinations top 80%

They're not 80% vaccinated. 80% of the ELIGIBLE population is vaccinated. That means there a few million snot-spreading unvaccinated vectors congregating together in Danish schools right now (well, they're probably home eating dinner right now, bringing home whatever they picked up at school). Ontario has 79% eligible population vaccinated, we have a mask mandate and some (trivial) restrictions still in place and it's still out of control here right now. I don't imagine that when we get 1% more, this will all disappear and we can go back the Way Things Used To Be.

80% eligible population (when that population is still only 12+) is not as high as it seems. It is absolutely not high enough to confer herd immunity in the age of Delta.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:07 AM on September 10 [26 favorites]


Nobody is being forced to get a vaccine. If they don't like their employer's vaccine mandate, they are free to leave that job and find a different one that is more to their liking. I have been informed that this is extremely easy for anybody to do in America, and that anyone who stays in an unsatisfactory job lacks gumption and deserves to fail.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:08 AM on September 10 [147 favorites]


In an ideal world for them, I think, we need to trust that each of our neighbors will come to the right and logical conclusion, and we need to respect that each person is educating themselves and making the choice that suits their own circumstance best

It would be much easier to take that attitude seriously if there weren't also people making fun of people wearing masks too much and calling them virtue-signalling sheeple...
posted by BungaDunga at 9:09 AM on September 10 [12 favorites]


The federal government cannot tell Real Americans (read as: members of the conservative tribe) what they can or cannot do. Ever.

Except if you need an abortion.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:10 AM on September 10 [39 favorites]


Meanwhile: Denmark lifts all Covid restrictions as vaccinations top 80%


That's 80% of the whole population, not 80% of those eligible, from chatter on Reddit.
posted by ocschwar at 9:13 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


The right wing freakout on Twitter has been fascinating.
posted by zzazazz at 9:16 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


That's 80% of the whole population, not 80% of those eligible, from chatter on Reddit.

The article linked says 80% population over the age of 12. Anyway is 80% of the population enough? The modelling here shows we currently need 90% of the whole population (so not even possible until kids under 12 are eligible). I suppose if were starting at a lower base-rate the number might be different though.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 9:16 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


A lot of people will assert a religious exemption. To tee up a Title VII claim if fired.

One of the landmark cases routinely cited in support of mandates, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), relied in part on the power being delegated to local authorities. The Roberts court is increasingly openly Lochnerian and has curtailed expansive interpretation of various agency powers when it suits the conservative majority in recent cases. The FTC. The eviction ban.

I'm not feeling good about this.

Here's a bit from a Sept. 7 post from Sidley firm, The Next Wave: Legal and Practical Considerations for Employers Regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations:

Put simply, under the ADA, Title VII, and other federal employment nondiscrimination laws, an employer may require employees entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as long as it provides reasonable accommodations for employees who do not get vaccinated because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:17 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


It would be much easier to take that attitude seriously if there weren't also people making fun of people wearing masks too much and calling them virtue-signalling sheeple...

Oh, I didn't say that these trust-your-neighbor-will-do-the-right-thing people were at all being noble about it. That "leave your neighbor free to do the right thing" is the put-the-best-face-on-it intellectual dressing for "you can't make me", which is really what's going on, and the "virtue-signaling sheeple" is "dude, don't give in, that's making it harder for me not to!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:17 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Peggy the Piggly-Wiggly Cashier Thought we were trying to be better?
posted by achrise at 9:18 AM on September 10 [15 favorites]


Re: religious exemptions, which religions are on record as opposing getting vaccinated against diseases?
posted by emelenjr at 9:26 AM on September 10 [9 favorites]


Once you're inquiring into the earnestness of the belief you're at least at the summary judgment stage of a hypothetical litigation (or arbitration) as it's a factual question that requires consideration of evidence.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:28 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


At one Federal agency, staff members have until COB today to declare their vaccine status--this requirement has been in place for a couple of weeks, well before yesterday's announcement. If they are vaccinated they have to provide the date(s) and whether vaccinated or not, and sign the form (electronically) to indicate that their statements are, to the best of their knowledge, true. Again, this is to state whether a person is vaccinated or not--it's not a requirement to be vaccinated.

Staff has not been told the implications of non-compliance. While it's easy to be dismissive of the holdouts, whether it involves a statement of status or refusing to be vaccinated on something other than medical grounds, we're talking about people at an agency where the tension level is high and the morale is pretty low.
posted by datawrangler at 9:29 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


A lot of people will assert a religious exemption.

Will they still then need to do weekly testing? I am guessing, yes? Weekly testing seems like an incredible hassle. I am also assuming that at some point the cost is going to fall to you. And then what if you test positive at some point? Maybe I am wrong, but I see taking a religious exemption as not much of a win.
posted by nanook at 9:33 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Anyone care to weigh in on the HIPAA implications of businesses and government agencies collecting the covid-19 vaccine status of their employees?
posted by baseballpajamas at 9:35 AM on September 10


Re: religious exemptions, which religions are on record as opposing getting vaccinated against diseases?

I found this to be a pretty good summary of the landscape. It's a little thin on non-Christian religions, though.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:36 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Weekly testing seems like an incredible hassle.

Part of that hassle will be how near or far a testing center is from a person, and whether the center needs to be on an "approved testing center" list.
posted by datawrangler at 9:36 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Will they still then need to do weekly testing? I am guessing, yes?

We had someone at my son's school make a religious objection to testing (I don't know the details). The objecting child has not been allowed to attend school.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:37 AM on September 10 [16 favorites]


HIPAA does not apply to employers per se. It applies to medical providers, insurers and related entities and regulates how they are permitted to disclose patient information.

As a medical professional, I'm not allowed to disclose my patients' personal information without a signed release form. But if you tell me you have a cold,, and you're not my patient, I can tell someone else about it and HIPAA doesn't care.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:37 AM on September 10 [35 favorites]


Christian Scientists and I think Dutch Reformed are the two faiths that are recognized as having religious exemptions. All the others are just making shit up.
posted by Windopaene at 9:37 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]


Efforts to parse the logic of anti-vaxxers and COVID denialists are a waste of time and energy.

There is no logic. It's 100% social posturing. And any explanations they offer for *why* they're posturing in this way are 100% post-hoc motivated reasoning.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:38 AM on September 10 [31 favorites]


Weekly testing seems like an incredible hassle.

It's a hassle for the employer too, who will have to pay for it and provide time off for it if they want to insulate themselves against these claims. And then get entagled in the privacy aspects of having the data, which employees like this can find ways to make yet more of a hassle.

I see taking a religious exemption as not much of a win.

They will take the opportunity to go on posting about the forced testing and masking bc MAH FREEDOMZ and also boast about the cost they are imposing in their employers and etc. Not to mention delighting in whatever exposure they can impose on their coworkers without getting fired.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:38 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Weekly testing seems like an incredible hassle.

Part of that hassle will be how near or far a testing center is from a person, and whether the center needs to be on an "approved testing center" list.


Weekly testing shouldn’t be a hassle, assuming it’s a good faith position by the government. It will be something of a hassle certainly, but it should also be as easy as possible to get tested.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:40 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Anyone care to weigh in on the HIPAA implications of businesses and government agencies collecting vaccine status on their employees?

At my company, the person collecting the information is the same person that administrates our health insurance anyway, so they're already aware of everybody's health stuff and it's nothing new. But even if that entity at a company knows your status and it's perfectly above board, you basically reveal your vaccination status by having to wear a mask in the office if you're not vaccinated (requirement at my company).

Re: religious exemptions, which religions are on record as opposing getting vaccinated against diseases?

I'm kind of hoping the The Satanic Temple can step in here, since they already have a record of endorsing bodily autonomy, but with the additional requirement that you have to prove your Satanic status by taking out an ad in the newspaper declaring yourself as one or something, so that all the people taking religious exemption by that method would have to publicly declare themselves as devoted to Satan.
posted by LionIndex at 9:41 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Here's a bit from a Sept. 7 post from Sidley firm, The Next Wave: Legal and Practical Considerations for Employers Regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations:

This was (obviously) written prior to the federal mandate's being issued. A challenge to a vaccination/testing requirement will need to be against the emergency OSHA regulation, not against an individual employer's rule (otherwise in accordance with the regulation).

The eviction moratorium was, it must be admitted, a pretty aggressive move on the part of the CDC. Nothing is guaranteed with this particular court, to be sure, but the authority to issue emergency workplace safety regulations is pretty clearly granted to OSHA by its enabling statute, and the factual basis for doing so seems sound.

The bigger concern, I think, is interaction with this court's ever-expansive view of "religious freedom." However, if the final rule ends up with slightly larger religious exemptions than I would like (which is still a bit of a journey), that will still serve to do most of what needs to be done, I think.
posted by praemunire at 9:41 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I could declare myself a Roganite of the Ivermectish Rite. "Sincere" does not mean "recognized."

(Maybe not quite that facially ridiculous and referential but you get the point.)


This was (obviously) written prior to the federal mandate's being issued


No kidding?
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:44 AM on September 10


Anyone care to weigh in on the HIPAA implications of businesses and government agencies collecting vaccine status on their employees?

I'm going to gently, mildly, and respectfully request that people not bring HIPAA up unless they understand that it affects involuntary disclosure of health information by covered health care providers and not anything a person might disclose or authorize their care provider to disclose.
posted by praemunire at 9:45 AM on September 10 [73 favorites]


I would much prefer to be on the record to future readers as calling the anti-vax folks by their proper nomenclature, "monstrous fuckbuckets of turds".

Which brings about another issue, of the hyper-American way of attributing individual responsibility for ignorant beliefs rather than focusing on the way reactionary and anti-scientific institutions have pushed this narrative for political points or how the much more powerful social and conventional media have allowed for that kind of just absolutely garbage drivel to rise to the top.

How many of y'all have written in to massive corporations like Amazon for featuring anti-vaxx lit in their topselling books category or their donations to anti-vax movements? If the actions of my own (horribly reactionary, shortsighted, and yet massively profitable) company are instructive, it really just takes a bunch of very loud and angry people tweeting at our owner to get the entire company moving on changing internal company policy. Enough cancellations of memberships and you start to see change happen (which, honestly, is just a shitty form of direct democracy that requires disposable income but more on that another time).

My (inimitable) role model once said, "I often talk about how Jimmy would go out every morning and clean the corner. He would pick up all the litter on the corner. When the gutters backed up because of heavy rain, he would be the first one out there to clean the gutters. He felt that he was a citizen of his block, of his city, of his country. And I had never thought that way. [But] I’ve come to believe that you cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it."

Call people whatever inventive language you want and feel as righteous as you'd like but nothing changes until you go about changing it, and I see so very few calls in this thread for any kind of mass action.
posted by paimapi at 9:46 AM on September 10 [24 favorites]


Christian Scientists and I think Dutch Reformed are the two faiths that are recognized as having religious exemptions.

I grew up Dutch Reformed and don't remember this ever coming up. It's not a tradition that is particularly anti-medicine.

Seventh-Day Adventists, though, probably have a grandfather exemption.

I am not a law-talker but my understanding of the landscape of religious freedom law in the US now is that you don't have to be a part of a group with a recognized exemption anymore to claim it, it's just about Your Personal Beliefs. But I also am of the understanding that one can then be required to do other reasonable things such as testing and masking. At some point, if a worker refuses to do anything I expect there's going to be a very nasty battle between occupational safety and health laws and religious freedom rights. So that's a fun thing that we can all look forward to
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:50 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


The Supreme Court dunking on Unitary Executive would be hilarious in contrast to other decisions. Also fun in that with visibly life and death stakes this is a moment where the other two branches of government need to give SCOTUS a long, hard stare.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:52 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


No kidding.

I didn't say that to be obnoxious. I said that because, written when it was, that analysis simply can't address the issues likely to be definitive here, has been in large part superseded by events, and is in this specific, immediate situation of utility mostly to the associate who got to bill some development hours for writing it.
posted by praemunire at 9:52 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


I sure hope-so - but, I think it also provides an unfortunate on-ramp for; mass protests, insurrection and possible terrorism.

People protest(ed) mask-wearing - they protested shutdowns. Now they are being told that vaccines are mandatory?

I hope I am wrong.
posted by rozcakj


Here’s the thing. They are going to find their on-ramp to that somewhere. If it’s not vaccine mandates, it will be something else. Remember that these people never, ever stop finding stuff about which they’re going to be screaming bloody murder. Think about it - have they ever stopped screaming and hollering? Do they even care about the truth? They care about winning and being constantly angry. They will find their chance somewhere to pull their shit. It doesn’t matter what you concede to them. They will always find something.

It’s not wise to let fear of what these people might do be the thing that drives policy decisions. You will never make them happy. You will never calm their anger.
posted by azpenguin at 9:54 AM on September 10 [65 favorites]


I'm kind of hoping the The Satanic Temple can step in here, since they already have a record of endorsing bodily autonomy, but with the additional requirement that you have to prove your Satanic status by taking out an ad in the newspaper declaring yourself as one or something

This doesn't seem to be the case now. It appears that you are a member once you submit a form with a name, email address, and general location by pressing a button labelled "Join".
posted by achrise at 9:55 AM on September 10


My fear of violence doesn't "drive policy decisons." It just exists. It would be kind if people here didn't try to talk other users out of being afraid of the real, violent possibilities from this latest development.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:56 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


I didn't say that to be obnoxious. I said that because, written when it was, that analysis simply can't address the issues likely to be definitive here

There is nothing newer. Other people here without your background might find it informative to know how things have been going up to now. I guess we'll see what issues the courts find relevant under this new regulation. I tend to think they'll apply Title VII. I'll let your tone speak for itself.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:57 AM on September 10 [1 favorite]


This doesn't seem to be the case now. It appears that you are a member once you submit a form with a name, email address, and general location by pressing a button labelled "Join".

Yes, the joke would be changing their policies to force (presumably some flavor of Christian) right-wingers to publicly convert to Satanism.
posted by LionIndex at 9:58 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


chesty_a_arthur: "What are the problems or objections to getting tested weekly?"

Naso-pharyngeal swabs are quite unpleasant. I'm not saying this is a bad policy, just that this is one objection people will have. I can imagine that a couple of weeks of that will chip away at vaccine refusal.
posted by adamrice at 10:04 AM on September 10 [7 favorites]


Re HIPPA: Yesterday my local community college announced they closed one of the buildings on campus as a result of multiple COVID infections but refused to say to the media which building, citing HIPPA. Quoth the spokesperson:
“We cannot identify the building due to the risk of identifying students. HIPPA protects the private health information of our students.”
I've half a mind to file a FOI request along with an email linking to hhs.gov in the hopes of enlightening that spokeperson a lil' but fuck it. I think it's kind of a shitty dodge but I gotta pick my battles and there's too much other shit to worry about right now.
posted by glonous keming at 10:05 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Very scared of the irrational people's reaction to this.

Can it possibly be more dangerous than the status quo? COVID is extremely efficient at killing people.


Ever heard of a chickenpox party?
posted by pwnguin at 10:06 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


There are concerns expressed about the potential for violence.. it's fair to say the implication is that this recent mandate will be a catalyst for violence. Others express their concern simply that some people will use this as an excuse for violence.

From what I have seen the past several years, the violence has always been there. There are groups in the US (and increasingly, everywhere) and they are mobilizing. Whether it's vaccinations, reproductive rights, individual freedoms in terms of living one's gender.. race, religion.. there are groups who will push and push, and the banner they gather under is only incidental. They will use violence to silence and oppress you, they've been doing it and they want to do it to an even greater degree. You should be worried about the violence, I just don't think the focus on vaccinations, specifically, makes any sense. To the extent that any of our elected governments occasionally demonstrate the capacity to govern (e.g. make reasonable responses to a pandemic, based on available data) I will take that as a win. It's never enough, it's usually late, but it's something.
posted by elkevelvet at 10:08 AM on September 10 [7 favorites]


Re: religious exemptions, which religions are on record as opposing getting vaccinated against diseases?

Note that even in religions that do not oppose the vaccine, people will try to claim a religious exemption.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:10 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Naso-pharyngeal swabs are quite unpleasant.

I've had two COVID tests and I can guarantee I've had more invasive self administered nose picking sessions. It's been a qtip around the back of a nostril, not the big ol find your throat dealies.
posted by phunniemee at 10:14 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


I'm surprised that no one in this thread has mentioned the Herman Cain Award subreddit, which currently has 173k subscribers.

I honestly don't know how I feel about it, except to say that it appears a lot of long losing battles could have been prevented by simply getting vaccinated.
posted by Catblack at 10:15 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


Didn't we spend a lot of 2020 talking about OSHA's powerlessness in the face of businesses which simply didn't want to follow any pandemic regulations?

I remember quite a few restaurants that simply ignored all the rules and dared for anyone to shut them down. Others, with a lower profile, ran business as usual.

Is there additional funding to ensure that these regulations will actually be followed? Or is this just ushering in an era of unenforceable regulations?
posted by meowzilla at 10:15 AM on September 10


OK, this is newer.

Society for Human Resource Management (the HR trade association, employer-oriented):
Biden Orders Vaccination Mandates for Larger Employers, Federal Workforce
(September 9, 2021)

Research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 28 percent of employed Americans say they won't get the COVID-19 vaccine even if it costs them their job.

The presidential announcement "is a real game changer for many employers," said Steve Bell, a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney in Denver. "The fact that the largest employer in the U.S. is mandating vaccines will give comfort to private employers that have been hesitant to require vaccines. It may also set the standard for what a reasonable employer should be doing in the face of this continuing epidemic."

Chelsea Smith, a labor and employment attorney in the Oklahoma City office of Hall Estill, added that private-sector employers should seek legal advice and be sure to craft a mandatory vaccine policy that provides for exemptions for people with qualified disabilities, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and for people with sincerely held religious beliefs, as defined under Title VII of The Civil Rights Act.

posted by snuffleupagus at 10:18 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


If I read the news correctly, health care organizations (hospitals, etc.) that don't enforce vaccinations will no longer be allowed to accept Medicare. This is a Big Deal that typically makes such organizations sit up and take notice. That's a big percentage of cash flow for such places, to the extent that losing it means the risk of going out of business entirely.
posted by gimonca at 10:19 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


Naso-pharyngeal swabs are quite unpleasant.

I’ve had two COVID tests and I can guarantee I've had more invasive self administered nose picking sessions. It’s been a qtip around the back of a nostril, not the big ol find your throat dealies.

Yeah, the hype around these got out of hand. As a counterpoint, I think a strep test is way, way worse.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:30 AM on September 10 [9 favorites]


I’m surprised that no one in this thread has mentioned the Herman Cain Award subreddit, which currently has 173k subscribers.

I honestly don't know how I feel about it, except to say that it appears a lot of long losing battles could have been prevented by simply getting vaccinated.

It’s gross, but humanity has been gross for a long time. I think laughing at someone who died from whatever random vax paranoia they had is going to obviously be “punching down”. There are exceptions, but that seems like the general rule.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:33 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


From what I have seen the past several years, the violence has always been there.

656,000 dead Americans at the hands of Republicans — and counting — is pretty violent.

If states want to posture, let them. If state government officials want prison time, let them have that.

Letting children continue to dictate our response to a health crisis is just all so tiresome. My patience with these brats is done, and I'm glad another adult is in charge to say the same.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:44 AM on September 10 [14 favorites]


phunniemee: " I can guarantee I've had more invasive self administered nose picking sessions."

Two things:

1. TMI.
2. Apparently there's some variation in the aggressiveness of nose-swabbing.
posted by adamrice at 10:44 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


Re: naso-pharyngeal swabs -- I think some people are just very, very sensitive to having their nasal cavities prodded. Before I ever got one, a good friend of mine (who's an MD and has both administered and experienced many medical procedures) had the test, and said she'd literally rather give birth again than have another swab. It scared the CRAP out of me, until I had one and was like, " ... oh, this is 2 seconds of mild discomfort and that's it." My sister and I refer to it as a nasal pap smear.

It's also possible that the mandatory tests won't use the nasal swab; saliva testing is very common where I live.

Lastly: I can't tell you how grateful I am that Biden is putting his foot down about this. I'm pretty fed up with ... well, everything, but especially Democrats (and sane Republicans, if there are any left) who tiptoe around tough decisions because they don't want to set off the Trumpers, anti-vaxxers, and so forth. This is the right thing to do, and most Americans are just fine with it, so I'm glad that he did it. I hope he does more of it.
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 10:45 AM on September 10 [24 favorites]


As a counterpoint, I think a strep test is way, way worse.
I had one of the 15 minute combo covid/flu/strep tests a couple of months ago. One non-invasive swab for all three. Turned out to have the flu. Somehow.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 10:47 AM on September 10


Re [HIPAA]: Yesterday my local community college announced they closed one of the buildings on campus as a result of multiple COVID infections but refused to say to the media which building, citing [HIPAA].

Was it this one?

“We cannot identify the building due to the risk of identifying students,” she wrote in a [sic] email, referencing HIPAA law. “HIPPA [sic] protects the private health information of our students.”

Which...no, and anyone working in higher ed should be embarrassed for her. Here's a handy resource for anyone else who doesn't know the difference between HIPAA and FERPA.

The whole reason we're in this situation is overconfident people making up their own science and their own laws, and other people proudly parroting the made-up stuff instead of actually vetting it and calling out the BS. It's especially gross to see people doing it on the job, in fields whose whole purpose is supposedly to convey accurate information.

Biden's remarks yesterday sent a strong message that we're done pretending any random layperson gets to pull nonsense out of their butt and call it a fact.
posted by armeowda at 10:48 AM on September 10 [28 favorites]


I remember quite a few restaurants that simply ignored all the rules and dared for anyone to shut them down. Others, with a lower profile, ran business as usual.

These rules are applying to bigger employers, which tend to be more bureaucratic and more reliant on good relationships with regulators.

I doubt many restaurants in red states will require their employees to be vaccinated.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:52 AM on September 10


I am terrified now. Very scared of the irrational people's reaction to this.

Politically it means in 2022 the Dems lose the House. That's what has me worried.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 11:05 AM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Politically it means in 2022 the Dems lose the House. That's what has me worried.


There's a large majority of popular support for vaccine mandates. It's polling much better than Biden is.

The vocal antivax minority would never vote D anyway.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:09 AM on September 10 [42 favorites]


> Was it this one?

yes
posted by glonous keming at 11:10 AM on September 10


Politically it means in 2022 the Dems lose the House.

"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future!" - Niels Bohr
posted by sainttoad at 11:10 AM on September 10 [9 favorites]


Couple of things:

Re: violence: I have a friend who's in the C-suite of a major US health insurer, and a friend who does communications/PR for another major US health insurer, and they are absolutely preparing for violence. It's not a major concern -- they had more fears around vaccine administration locations and vaccine sabotage, which vaccination first became widely available, and both had a bunch of all-hands planning meetings about protecting their staffers providing vaccines from violence. (Fortunately, neither had it happen; the worst was they had to cancel a couple of sessions because of protestors.) But on the agendas for meetings where they're discussing "vaccine mandate for our employees" and "changing policies for 2022 to require vaccination or pay high rates" and "distributing vaccines to client employers with mandates" (since more and more often, large employers contract with their health insurer to deliver yearly vaccines, like the flu shot, directly and on site, and Covid will be similar), they have an item on the agenda about "risks and threats" and they talk about the likelihood of local violence and possible responses to it.

Regarding religious exemptions for vaccines, the rules are a LOT mushier than most people realize. You DON'T have to belong to a religious group that specifically objects to vaccines -- you just have to have a "sincerely held religious belief" against the vaccine.

There's a great classic case in Florida where a Florida Catholic parent sued his child's Catholic school for their vaccine requirement, saying he had a religious objection to the vaccine and the Catholic Church said, "Uh, no you don't." The court didn't rule on the validity of the guy's claimed religious objection -- US courts don't rule on what religions officially believe or what practitioners actually believe. The court simply ruled that Florida private schools are allowed to deny religious exemptions to vaccine mandates, so the guy had no case.

Public universities very clearly are allowed to mandate vaccines, with only medical exemptions. States have been slowly, over the past decade, been removing personal and religious exemptions from vaccine requirements for K-12 students (after California's rolling measles disasters). Most still allow religious exemptions for K-12 students, but I think you're going to see a big push for states that still have those exemptions to get rid of them, and in states that won't, you're going to see some other interesting things happening, which will have to be overruled by increasingly ridiculous-looking Republican governors. For example, state high school sports governing authorities have a LOT of authority to require certain health metrics be met -- including vaccinations -- for students or for schools to be permitted to participate in state sports competitions. You may see a state like Texas go, "Well, Texans can get religious exemptions for school vaccines" and then have the state high school football board say, "I mean you can, but then you can't play; a lot of these kids are college prospects, we're not putting them at risk."

The FLAT RIDICULOUSNESS of a lot of these religious exemptions, and the absolutely openness with which people are cheating the system and bragging about it on social media, is going to raise a lot more support for getting rid of religious exemptions to vaccination, period. 'Cause it's not really Christian Scientists who are avoiding vaccines (and they are allowed to, by their church, to make the personal decision to get them if they want to); it's random evangelicals whose faiths, such as they are, have no objection to vaccines; it's a purely political objection.

Moreover, religious vaccine exemptions typically apply to public school children, because children are required to interact with the state via public school, and they have certain rights not to be coerced by the government. That's fine. (And I do think there will be a lot of pushback on vaccine exemptions for K-12 students because Parents are super-weird about sending their children into death traps.) But that's a special case. A lot of these guys rushing out to get these fakey "vaccine exemption" cards that they have a random pastor sign and present it at work/a concert/whatever and go "CHECK MATE, LIBERALS!" are going to be shocked and dismayed to discover that your private employer can make you do whatever the fuck it wants and that the GOP has spent fifty years strengthening the rights of the corporation's free assembly to fire you whenever it wants, and weakening the rights of the workers. (Bet you wish you had a union now, Bob!) "But I have a religious objection!" "That's fine, sir, but you can't dine at this Olive Garden."

Another interesting, if doubtless very minor, part of this is going to be -- where I live, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago declared a vaccine mandate for ALL employees, with no religious exemptions, reminded members that Catholics are morally obligated to either get the vaccine or stay home forever, and ordered parish priests to counsel parishioners that as Catholics they should not seek a religious exemption to vaccine mandates. That, indeed, their faith mandates they get vaccinated, even if secular authorities don't mandate it. I don't really expect to see the archbishop out there excommunicating bad-faith Catholics seeking religious exemptions -- that sort of thing went out of vogue after Henry VIII. Buuuuuuuut I think we may very well see priests being reprimanded, disciplined, or suspended if they're pushing anti-vax talking points or helping people get "religious exemptions" and their bishop has been clear that vaccination is mandatory. I think we'll see a handful of high-profile situations like that, across various religious faiths in the US, where Some Jerk gets a lot of publicity for being anti-vax, and his faith's ruling body sanctions him in some way, and he gets to go on the Fox News whinery tour.

"The federal government cannot tell Real Americans (read as: members of the conservative tribe) what they can or cannot do. Ever. Except if you need an abortion."

You've identified the tipoff that women are not part of "Real Americans." That's man stuff. Ladies are auxiliary members at best.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:11 AM on September 10 [55 favorites]


not the big ol find your throat dealies

Seems like, in those situations, they're swabbing the back of my head.

Metafilter: swabbing the back of my head.
posted by datawrangler at 11:13 AM on September 10


I know I'm late to the party, but I stand by my earlier theory that the real, underlying cause of "vaccine hesitancy" or anti-vax politics is actually trypanophobia.

Roughly 10% of the adult population in the US likely has this disorder and it is wildly underdiagnosed because it involves not seeking medical help for the disorder. Also, it's on the more embarrassing end of diagnosable clinical phobias. Furthermore, phobias often have knock-on behavioral effects that seek to subsume the disorder into another set of personal beliefs.
I have a mild hand-washing obsession that is connected to some childhood experiences and once was confronted about how frequently I make my kids wash their hands - and while I knew that my behavior was, in fact, a bit over the top I heard the words coming out of my mouth, "I'm just trying to keep them from catching colds and getting food poisoning!"

I am also married to someone with pretty severe trypanophobia who had to confront this fear in order to go through some fairly major medical endeavors. This person is also a licensed Psychologist. I know how hard it can be to deal with these things.

Now imagine that you're emphatically not a well-adjusted, differentiated, science-minded person with a deep-seated and embarrassing needle phobia - why wouldn't you grab hold of the first political posture that lets you avoid the experience?
"What's that? Shots can make you sick?! It's the government controlling us?!! Yes, yes, of course that's why I won't take the shot."

This theory also neatly puts a bow on why anti-vaxxers seem to span the political spectrum. It's because the political posture is a shield.

This theory also explains why they'd rather eat animal medicine in paste-form or take pills like ivermectine or hydroxychloroquine - because they're pills and paste. No shot required. It also gives the lie that they don't trust "big pharma" because "big pharma" makes those other products. The difference is that they don't come in an iv injection.

I think if we had a COVID vaccine that could be taken orally or even inhaled (the anti-covid folks love their albuterol) we would see greater success. But medical researchers don't really seem to take the prevalence of trypanophobia seriously and this is the worst possible response to the current situation.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:13 AM on September 10 [24 favorites]




^ Yes, and to this Canadian's disbelief a group of armed men showed up to take the Governor of Michigan hostage not long ago. There has been a concerted campaign to intimidate and shout-down Justin Trudeau during the lead up to a federal election here in Canada. More and more, we see groups taking action to intimidate and bully. Worry about the violence, and then what? I'm not sure anyone needs further proof of it, and I don't think the vaccination issue is a particularly notable example of anything, in and of itself.
posted by elkevelvet at 11:22 AM on September 10 [6 favorites]


Ok, hey? I'm worried about a plausible threat. If you feel a need to say "don't"...can you please not?
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:24 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]


The difference is that they don't come in an iv injection.

People are lining up for their experimental intravenous monoclonal antibody therapy.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:26 AM on September 10 [10 favorites]


like, people with needle phobias should definitely be made aware that an hours-long IV injection may be in their future if they won't put up with a quick intramuscular one
posted by BungaDunga at 11:28 AM on September 10 [27 favorites]


If we've reached the point where a political leader can't take obvious correct action to protect citizens from a deadly, infectious disease for fear of retaliatory violence, then the American experiment is over. Kaput. Stock up on weapons and ammunition, because violence or the threat thereof is literally the only tool you have left.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:29 AM on September 10 [14 favorites]


I remember quite a few restaurants that simply ignored all the rules and dared for anyone to shut them down.

I don’t remember it being quite a few. In fact it seemed more like a publicity stunt for some owners who could afford to lose their businesses.

Others, with a lower profile, ran business as usual.

That, unfortunately, appears likely to carry on albeit with a higher percentage of customers being vaccinated.

I’m hoping there will be a squeeze effect where the vaccine hesitant who find themselves forced to be vaccinated will also find themselves impatient with people who won’t take the dreaded shot.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:33 AM on September 10


I have thought about this mandate a lot. For multiple reasons.

I'm a federal employee. I work in medical research at a VA hospital. While formerly a basic science investigator, I'm now primarily an administrative person within our research service - converted from soft money to career when I took the admin job. A great deal of my time is spent handling supervisory issues and policy in our department. I'm not our lead departmental HR guy, but our lead HR guy reports to me.

The mandate is a good thing. But in my personal opinion - not in capacity as official representative of my program, facility, government, or etc. - the mandate is weak-sauce bullshit that has too many loopholes.

I have coworkers who are not vaccinated. The penalty? Weekly testing and you have to wear a mask. Well, gee, EVERYBODY HERE ALREADY HAS TO WEAR A MASK ALL THE TIME, BECAUSE NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE ARE VACCINATED. And as for testing - NO ONE is checking on this, NO ONE is providing guidance on how a supervisor goes about verifying compliance, hell - NO ONE is even telling us WHO is supposed to be required to do the weekly testing in the first place! (The only reason I know a few coworkers are unvaxxed is because they disclosed it to me...)

Yesterday I found myself working with the morgue to see if we have space in a research cold room to store extra bodies. On the same day I am also dealing with with questions like "Hey, my tech is unvaccinated and is it OK for them to go to a patient's house to drop off materials?" And I have to keep pretending that I am fine with this employee just ignoring the science and walking around like there's no pandemic? It's fucking bullshit and it needs to stop. We're here to help Veterans, people who in a whole lot of cases literally took a bullet to defend your freedom, and you assholes are too selfish to take a needle to protect THEM when they come here for their medical care? This is a goddamned HOSPITAL. I don't really care if someone in the Treasury or FBI is unvaccinated and wants a religious exemption, but you 100% should not be allowed to work in person, on site, in a goddamned hospital unless you are vaccinated. You should not be allowed to claim that god told you vaccines are wrong and still work in a goddamned hospital, a place that uses science-based medicine to cure and treat diseases. Vaxxed or axed. Or at least turfed to a non-patient facing branch of the organization, where you spend the remainder of your federal career working a phone bank and dealing with decedent affairs, doing grounds work for the cemetery, or handling billing disputes. You should not be within a country mile of an actual hospital.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:35 AM on September 10 [97 favorites]


(I can't say this stuff at work. I can think it. But I can't say it.)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:36 AM on September 10 [19 favorites]


Once again...your individual fellow MeFites (waves) are not causing any leaders to refrain from doing what's right because we personally have fear of violence. And no one has expressed they don't want the mandate.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:36 AM on September 10


I know I'm late to the party, but I stand by my earlier theory that the real, underlying cause of "vaccine hesitancy" or anti-vax politics is actually trypanophobia.

It's possible that there's more than one cause - this, my "you can't make me" stubbornness theory, a lack of information about how vaccines actually work....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:37 AM on September 10 [7 favorites]


1775: Give me liberty or give me death!
2021: Give me "liberty" and give everyone death!
posted by Foosnark at 11:43 AM on September 10 [11 favorites]


you 100% should not be allowed to work in person, on site, in a goddamned hospital unless you are vaccinated

My spouse is a nurse and spotted this flyer in the break room yesterday, before the national mandate even came down. (The hospital is voluntarily about to enforce a similar mandate for all employees.) They were pretty sure they knew who put it up because one of their RN colleagues is openly antivax.

It is so fucking maddening. (And yes, my spouse quietly disappeared the goddamn flyer, because fuck that shit.)
posted by sciatrix at 11:46 AM on September 10 [12 favorites]


I know I'm late to the party, but I stand by my earlier theory that the real, underlying cause of "vaccine hesitancy" or anti-vax politics is actually trypanophobia.

While this is appealing theory, my experience with the original anti-vaxxers (I was an unvaccinated child) is that they are happy to get their blood drawn (for medical reasons or to give blood) they just don't want "toxins" in their body. So, while that may explain some proportion, I think the homeopathic/"all-natural"/etc. movements can explain a lot more.
posted by brook horse at 11:51 AM on September 10 [10 favorites]


Never fear, the GOP brain-trust is working on a fix: I'm filing a bill to gut OSHA. - source
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 11:57 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


1775: Give me liberty or give me death!

This is America, you can have both! National Treasure Alexandra Petri: Give me liberty and give me death!
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:59 AM on September 10 [4 favorites]


spotted this flyer in the break room yesterday
Yeah, the Seattle Police Union is taking a similar tactic, pushing a "Hold the (Thin Blue) Line" tactic of stonewalling against *anybody* giving vaccination status, to avoid having to actually make good on their threat of self-defunding by ~40%-60% of staff. (there's a decent bit of hope that this actually goes through, both for natural reasons and also because this would avoid the preexisting issue of "first in, first out" contractual obligations which has kept a lot of the worst offenders in the ranks protected)

Portland's already caved, so right now there's a lot of pressure on the Mayor not to do the same here. (the complexities of Mayor Durkan's role as a lame-duck are a FPP of their own)
posted by CrystalDave at 11:59 AM on September 10 [5 favorites]




This [needle-phobia] theory also neatly puts a bow on why anti-vaxxers seem to span the political spectrum. It's because the political posture is a shield.

Look, I want to believe the best about other people too. I get it. But we've seen miles and miles of column space dedicated to teasing out the motivations of anti-vaxxers (and of the merely vaccine-hesitant). Many of them believe the vaccine is recklessly unsafe, or deliberately engineered to harm them, or as good as useless.

Most of them do have one thing in common, which is assuming they know better than actual experts, because someone else offered a "just-so" explanation that more closely resembles what they want to hear.

That bow looks "neat" to them, too.
posted by armeowda at 12:11 PM on September 10 [12 favorites]


Most of them do have one thing in common, which is assuming they know better than actual experts, because someone else offered a "just-so" explanation that more closely resembles what they want to hear.

Many someone elses. And what they want to hear is simple; that their tribe is correct, and that everyone else's was and is and always will be wrong. And the people who know better refuse to correct the people who loudly propagate that message in public.
posted by delfin at 12:23 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


About a third of the country would evidently rather die than admit they were wrong about something, if you look at the polling on mandates.

We've been dealing with that third of the country for a long time now, on a variety of issues. I think with this one, people are sick and tired of it because we've tried it their way this whole time and all we have to show for it is a 9/11's worth of casualties every couple of days.

What worries me the most is that it will take years to figure out how much the last 559 days of March 2020 have broken us. And the thing is: it didn't have to be like this. The Trump administration fucked up. Badly. (Never stop talking about how much they fucked up.) And we'll be dealing with a million or more dead in the US and the fallout from same for the rest of our lives.

Do I wish that Biden did more? Of course! Ending extended unemployment benefits and allowing evictions to happen again is going to hurt a lot. Another stimulus wouldn't be amiss, though that's giving money to the "wrong" people. But if we want any semblance of real normality back, we have to actually do something other than listen to the horse drugs people.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:34 PM on September 10 [21 favorites]


It's not even, what, two-three weeks into the school year and I hear that my nieces are already in quarantine because their school has no mask mandate. (This is in South Carolina.) I feel for all you parents. It's gonna be another weird long school year.

If you are educating children, you need to be vaxxed. Help protect the ones that can't be vaxxed (yet).
posted by Kitteh at 12:35 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


I got a nasal swab test last summer and it was quite uncomfortable. I was speaking with a friend who had to get his family tested recently to travel and he was saying that it wasn't bad. I'm guessing either the tests have gotten better so the swabs don't need to poke your brain anymore or the swabs never needed to go so far back but people didn't know any better in the beginning and were just shoving them up there.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:43 PM on September 10


I was speaking with a friend who had to get his family tested recently to travel and he was saying that it wasn't bad

This seems to depend upon the test technology; my recent long-swab PCR tests left me with a temporary pain behind my eyeballs (sort of like how if you jump into a pool and the water goes up your nose it hurts inside your head?), but I now possess my own personal molecular test machine (yeah, I know) and it uses swabs that only go an inch into your nostrils, more like the antigen tests except 99% sensitivity, 98% specificity.

The former test was irksome (again, like doing a bad job of diving into a pool), but the latter test I could do pretty much all day every day and not care.
posted by aramaic at 12:51 PM on September 10


There are a couple of different kinds of nose tests, one where you run it around inside each nostril five times, and it's no big deal, and the nasal-pharyngeal one where they put it all the way back in your nose until they touch the back of your throat, and then move it around for 15 solid seconds. (So basically exactly like a strep test, except INTERMINABLE, and YOU CAN'T GAG IT OUT.)

My local hospital uses the easy nostril swab for outpatient testing, but if you're being admitted to the hospital, they do the nasal-pharyngeal one. (Which I guess is somewhat more sensitive.) I've had a handful of the nostril ones, no big deal; but I had the nasal-pharyngeal one when I had to get some MRIs done and HOLY GOD. The nurse, who clearly had a lot of practice with this, put me in a headlock and SHOVED IT ON BACK. And I mean, fair play to her -- if I could have moved, I absolutely would have; I could not have voluntarily stayed still. I knew it was going to be like "a particularly bad strep test" (and I am wussy about strep tests, so I had steeled my nerves) but I had no concept of how LONG it would take and how ENDLESS those 15 seconds would feel.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:56 PM on September 10 [16 favorites]


I work for a university that has had minimum weekly testing for a while. At the beginning testing was a hassle for me because I had to wait around 90 minutes after my shift ended for the testing center to open. The first iteration of the test was a self administered nasal test.The test did not use a pharyngeal swab. You just had to swirl the swab in your nostrils for a short time. The current version of testing involves getting a testing kit from a vending machine, spitting into a tube, and leaving the specimen for pickup. So I haven't encountered any of the problems people are complaining about with weekly tests.

As for why people are against testing some people don't want to know that they have covid and some wackos believe that the testing swabs are seeded with covid.
posted by rdr at 12:59 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I stand by my earlier theory that the real, underlying cause of "vaccine hesitancy" or anti-vax politics is actually trypanophobia.

If there's one thing you learn as a history major who reads a lot of primary sources, there's never one single cause for social movements, and all of the people who say they know what it was at the time sound incredibly silly a few years on.

I think discounting that there are many sociopolitical reasons for anti-vaccine ideology also conveniently makes it difficult to hold the right groups and individuals accountable for their actions. For example, people like Ron DeSantis.

If it helps you sleep better at night to think that society, on the whole, is only a little illogical and most people are just trying to avoid being embarrassed instead of society being a chaotic soup that's largely made up of reactionary social movements promoted or glommed onto by groups of incredibly powerful, manipulative, and opportunistic people who advance political ideologies that echo anti-Semitism, fascism, et al, then you're free to continue telling yourself this. But it won't look less silly to future readers.
posted by paimapi at 12:59 PM on September 10 [16 favorites]



I know I'm late to the party, but I stand by my earlier theory that the real, underlying cause of "vaccine hesitancy" or anti-vax politics is actually trypanophobia.


I've wondered before how much, if any, difference it would make if instead of a needle the vaccine could be delivered in Gummy form. Bear, worm, dodecahedron, name your shape.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:04 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


I'm a government worker, and I'm wondering why we all had to fill out an affidavit on whether we were vaccinated or not. Was this some sort of research to pave the way for Biden's plan, or was it carried out for other reasons now made moot? Did they want to know how much it would actually cost to test people every week? Or did they want assurance that numbers were pretty good to start with?

Well, okay, as a government worker, I know I will never know the answers to these questions. However, I welcome this policy. We are working at 25% percent capacity onsite rotating among staff, so none of us can get anything done. With 25% capacity, we would dearly like to allow two people in big rooms at the same time, and were assured that two vaccinated people could be allowed in a room at the same time, only because no one was allowed to know who was vaccinated because of privacy concerns, there wasn't actually a way to implement this change. I assume now we can put two people in the room.
posted by acrasis at 1:30 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


Glade plug-in vaccines. Available in autumn apple and ocean breeze.
posted by mochapickle at 1:30 PM on September 10 [8 favorites]


I have to keep reminding myself that the former guy was stoking anti-vax sentiment years before Covid, and some components of the GOP were pro-measles during the 2019 outbreaks.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:35 PM on September 10 [6 favorites]


It’s worthwhile to remember that irrational fears of body contamination go both ways. If GMO’s were being used to deliver the vaccines the left would be losing its shit.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:43 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


I thought the Adenovirus vector in eg the Johnson and Johnson vaccine was a GMO?
posted by phliar at 1:56 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Sorry, armeowda, had to be done -

Metafilter: any random layperson gets to pull nonsense out of their butt and call it a fact.
posted by PhineasGage at 2:08 PM on September 10 [10 favorites]


I'm honored!
posted by armeowda at 2:09 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


I would absolutely take more drugs and things if they had gummy form (I got excited finding melatonin gummies at Target last week), but that's wishful thinking.

Back to the topic, I am so relieved to see hammers coming down.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:09 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Glade plug-in vaccines. Available in autumn apple and ocean breeze.

Pfizer Spice Lattes, the taste of Fall!
posted by phunniemee at 2:10 PM on September 10 [16 favorites]


... Did they want to know how much it would actually cost to test people every week? Or did they want assurance that numbers were pretty good to start with? - posted by acrasis

Yes, I think you have it -- number crunching, for test costs and existing employee vaccination rate. Many gov't agencies have been gutted, and are terribly understaffed; while low vaccination numbers are not good, a mandate inspiring a round of resignations would be trouble, too.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:15 PM on September 10


The psychological tendency to find a both-sides narrative is strong but false. Many vaccines, including most of the Covid ones AFAIK, are GMO-based. The left is generally fine with this.
posted by traveler_ at 2:18 PM on September 10 [16 favorites]


If GMO’s were being used to deliver the vaccines the left would be losing its shit.

"There are no statistically significant differences on the safety of eating GM foods between Republicans and those who lean to the Republican Party as compared with Democrats and those who lean to the Democratic Party. Nor are there differences on this issue among political or ideological groups."

Seconding that we need to ix-nay on the theoreticals about why "both sides" are somehow to blame for this, or would be in an alternate universe.
posted by armeowda at 2:20 PM on September 10 [28 favorites]


CyanVac, a Georgia-based pharmaceutical company, is developing a COVID-19 vaccine that is delivered nasally and uses a live virus to create immunity.(NBCDFW) The "Phase 1 Study of Intranasal PIV5-vectored COVID-19 Vaccine Expressing SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein in Healthy Adults" enrolled 80 participants in July, began Aug. 6, has a primary completion date of Dec. 2021, and an estimated study completion date of Nov. 2022.

[Reasons why the "vaccine hesitant" would pass on this one: live virus component, too-small study, company only 6 years old, CEO's a veterinarian...]
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:27 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


My last nasal swab went so far up that my eyes watered and I made the noise a kitten makes. I told my wife, who had been tested earlier that day, and she said the same nurse had also parted her hair from the inside of her skull. Never before have I been tested so....thoroughly.

So maybe it's who is doing the swab?
posted by wenestvedt at 2:55 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


I work in .edu IT and I am all for vaccine mandates. Staff, faculty, students, vendors, neighbors, alumni -- shit, give out a logo sticker with each one at the football games and with a free thumb drive at the computer labs and with a slice of complimentary cake at the dining halls.

Every big organization that can require it of their vendors will send out ripples, and it will force more and more people to put up or shut up.
posted by wenestvedt at 2:58 PM on September 10 [9 favorites]


When you get a chance to touch someone's brain with their permission, you take it.
posted by delfin at 3:01 PM on September 10 [15 favorites]


There will never be peace. Fox News (CW: Fox News) reports the latest thusly: "Psaki stands by having employer vaccine mandate while illegal immigrants get a pass."
posted by PhineasGage at 3:05 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


>>If GMO’s were being used to deliver the vaccines the left would be losing its shit.
>There are no statistically significant differences…


I did not know that and it is very interesting.

(Though technically just means that both sides would be losing her shit)

BTW, I didn’t bring up the GMO thing as a matter of “gosh, we’re all the same so let’s go home“ but rather “I, myself, am prone to acting irrationally and unproductively at times so how would I reach out to myself in that state and help myself change my mind." Dank memes? Righteous lectures? Fiats?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:06 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


“I, myself, am prone to acting irrationally and unproductively at times so how would I reach out to myself in that state and help myself change my mind." Dank memes? Righteous lectures? Fiats?

I don't think any of y'all know me IRL but if you happen to do, and you hear me refusing both nigh-miraculous science and overwhelming civic duty in the name of pure nonsense please just punch me right in the fucking head and do not stop until I come correct, k thx.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:10 PM on September 10 [24 favorites]


(if you would like to send me some dank memes after you're done punching though I wouldn't say no)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:11 PM on September 10 [6 favorites]


> For example, people like Ron DeSantis.

Do they, though?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:45 PM on September 10 [7 favorites]


So maybe it's who is doing the swab?

I think it is specific to the testing protocol. I had a PCR test recently and they said "oh, you're getting the one around your nostrils this time" and they didn't give me the deep nostril cleanse. There's a lot of conflation that shallow == antigen, but this was a PCR test, not antigen, and they twirled the q-tip around both nostrils instead of sticking it up there.
posted by BungaDunga at 3:48 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Oh hey! I just got a promotion to management in my federal agency! Just in time to be put in charge of tracking the data for everyone in my directorate who has COVID, who had COVID, who was exposed to COVID, who has been vaccinated, and POC if they die.

It's week 2 of my kindergarteners and 1st-grader's school. The school told DeWine to fuck off and is requiring masks, vaccinations for their employees, and actively working with parents and teachers and employees to keep the kids safe. It's week 2 of me having to monitor my kids for symptoms after exposure at school.

My brother is flying to Italy to impress his new girlfriend and to out-do his newly ex-wife who is going to a music festival. One of my oldest friends is flying to Chicago to go to a beer festival. They are all pro-science, vaccinated, and feel like it is ok to live their lives.

Another friend feels like it would be a waste of money to cancel his plans to attend Gen Con. He's vaccinated, plans on wearing a mask, but doesn't see why skipping the largest gaming convention in the world is a smart play.

Everything is fine. All fine here. We're good. How are you? /wail
posted by gwydapllew at 4:16 PM on September 10 [23 favorites]


Ah, geez, gwydapllew, that’s . . . a lot. It’s pretty cool to be in (or over?) a directorate, though. I imagine. Sounds James Bond-y. :-)
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 4:36 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


LOL, I wish it was as cool as it sounds! In reality, it just means that I have to report to my deputy director on things like "Well, Sue* is 63 and refuses to vaccinate. If we force her to vaccinate, she'll just retire. Either way, is there money in the budget to replace Sue?"

* It's a boy. Named Sue.
posted by gwydapllew at 4:41 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


shirley thats a HIPPO violation
posted by glonous keming at 5:02 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: Don't call me surely!
posted by gwydapllew at 5:05 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


cary-grant-out.gif
posted by rhizome at 5:06 PM on September 10 [3 favorites]


Imagine what headway would be made if the energy COVID-deniers put into maintaining their utterly untrue reality was focused on solving society's problems (climate, poverty, houselessness, healthcare, and on and on). Or just even the positive improvements in their own individual lives and relationships. Maintaining an untenable blackhole is just death.

Indeed. And imagine if the promoters of the COVID vaccines had put an equal amount of energy and funding toward preventing non-COVID-related sickness and disability, and helping the already sick to improve their health. This alone would likely have resulted in a much less lethal pandemic.
posted by cinchona at 5:34 PM on September 10


I admit I do not look forward to the every-14-days mandatory testing I have to start doing next week for work, but the unvaccinated are gonna have to do it every 4 days, so. At least it's all spit testing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:49 PM on September 10


I am waiting with interest to see how the company I work for handles this. I am only aware of one person who is vocally anti-vax, and they are close to retirement age anyway.

The dynamic within the GOP where there is such intense competition to cater to a small but highly active portion of their base is interesting but also incredibly destructive to the country and, I think, to the Republican Party itself.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:25 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


Just glad I filed for my employer's $1,000 vax bonus before this was announced
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:34 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


I know it was 100 comments ago, but delfin wasn't calling Peggy a derogatory name for a fat person. Piggly Wiggly is a southern grocery chain, around since the early 1900s.
We should all be trying to be better, but any scorn here is undeserved.
posted by atomicstone at 9:53 PM on September 10 [13 favorites]


I got a nasal swab test last summer and it was quite uncomfortable. I was speaking with a friend who had to get his family tested recently to travel and he was saying that it wasn't bad. I'm guessing either the tests have gotten better so the swabs don't need to poke your brain anymore or the swabs never needed to go so far back but people didn't know any better in the beginning and were just shoving them up there.

As I person who both occasionally gets to administer the tests at work and who got one myself, we were specifically instructed to perform a nasopharyngeal (deep) swab rather than the nasal swab because of greater sensitivity. I work in a hospital but my test was done at a walk-through last year. They did it the same way I was instructed to do it - all the way back and then swirl for 15 seconds. It was, of course, awful.

I was interested enough to do a quick PubMed search this morning.

Compared with the gold standard of nasopharyngeal swabs pooled nasal and throat swabs offered the best diagnostic performance of the alternative sampling approaches for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in ambulatory care. Saliva and nasal swabs gave comparable and very good diagnostic performance and are clinically acceptable alternative specimen collection methods.

Then there are also a bunch of articles on the superiority of saliva sampling.

The petty side of me wants the antivaxxers to have the least pleasant kind of test so that they get tired of it and get vaxxed. But maybe they won't, and so I wish they have the most seamless, neutral experience so that at least they can be quarantined ASAP if they get infected.
posted by M. at 10:23 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]


Well, okay, as a government worker, I know I will never know the answers to these questions. However, I welcome this policy. We are working at 25% percent capacity onsite rotating among staff, so none of us can get anything done. With 25% capacity, we would dearly like to allow two people in big rooms at the same time, and were assured that two vaccinated people could be allowed in a room at the same time, only because no one was allowed to know who was vaccinated because of privacy concerns, there wasn't actually a way to implement this change. I assume now we can put two people in the room.

Stuff like this is astonishing to me, a person who is interacting with just under 200 adult-sized 11-13 year old kids (most of whom are eligible to be vaccinated, most of whom are not) every day at school. The district told the parents we would aim for “3-6 feet of social distance when possible which means no distance at all because it is never possible because everything is normal at school except for masks.

Anyway. Mandated vaccines for everyone sounds pretty good to me. Blowdarts of vaccines in the streets would be fine, I am out of empathy for the willfully ignorant. I’m not thrilled about the testing opt out but I did a little dance when I read about this plan at lunch yesterday. My Trumpy mayor and governor have sworn to fight it because of course they have.
posted by charmedimsure at 12:58 AM on September 11 [11 favorites]


If GMO’s were being used to deliver the vaccines the left would be losing its shit

I'm a lefty and I'd lose my shit if the vaccine was not modified.
posted by srboisvert at 4:14 AM on September 11 [5 favorites]


In Canada this week we had the English-language debate for the upcoming federal election. The leaders of the major parties (Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Bloc Québécois, and Green) took advantage of their all being in the same place to record a unified message urging people to get vaccinated.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:26 AM on September 11 [11 favorites]


I've been in my local union for 13 or 14 years, and wrote a while back saying that this is the sort of situation where you can't support both the imagined rights of narcissistic sociopaths and the actual rights of the immunocompromised, so I'd prefer that they support the right of people not to be killed rather than the "right" to recklessly endanger others. But the union decided at the national level that mask mandates are a matter of labor rights (of the anti-vaxxers, rather than of the immunocompromised), and the local chapter voted recently to set money aside to help fund a lawsuit about the local mask mandate. So I'm leaving the union. It's unbelievably annoying and disappointing, but I'm not helping fund that lawsuit.

Increasingly I've noticed that the most vocal people in U.S. politics seem to feel like they have the right to do whatever they want, and everyone else's rights end at having to deal with it. I'm out of sympathy for that behavior. At this point I feel like anyone who can get vaccinated but hasn't should go live on a fucking island; I'll buy the volleyball; they can find their own stick for the bloody handprint.
posted by johnofjack at 5:32 PM on September 11 [19 favorites]


I agree: why can't we have them stay home or out of public for their own safety if this is the hill they literally want to die on?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:05 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


* It's a boy. Named Sue.

"And if I ever have a boy
I'll name him
Bill or George or Frank
Anything dam thing but Sue!
Hate that name"
posted by bendy at 9:25 PM on September 11 [1 favorite]


Hypothetically, I WFH for a very large bank on the opposite coast. My teammates have decided to WFH indefinitely. I may never meet any of them in person.

Are I or my teammates required to be vaccinated?
posted by bendy at 9:33 PM on September 11


My work has said yes to that. Hell, literally everyone has to get tested regularly even if they never come back in person again. That last one seems the most unnecessary to me, but there you go.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:00 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I expect they don't want to have to indirectly pay for hospitalizations that can be cheaply avoided.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:18 AM on September 12 [3 favorites]


I've noticed that the most vocal people in U.S. politics seem to feel like they have the right to do whatever they want, and everyone else's rights end at having to deal with it.

The most vocal people in US politics are extremely anti-authoritarian for themselves and extremely authoritarian for everyone else, and they don't have the capacity to see the contradiction.
posted by box at 5:23 AM on September 12 [14 favorites]


I work for one of the country's larger employers, and we've thus far chosen not to mandate vaccinations for reasons I suspect I know, but don't really feel I should comment on in a public way. It's a tech company, though, which means that there is an intense libertarian streak in conversations about these mandates, and a lot of focus on "rights". I really like johnofjack's comment on that subject, and I think I am starting to see even some of my more "muh rights!" colleagues come over to that view.
posted by ChrisR at 7:41 AM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I wrote this a couple days ago in another space about unions who don't support vaccine mandates (mine seems fairly supportive, thankfully, and our institution has just implemented its own mandate), and johnofjack's comment made me think it might be worth sharing here:

I am a proud dues-paying union member and basically think 75% of everything wrong with this country could be solved by strong unions. And it seriously disturbs me to see some unions being ambivalent to reactionary against vaccine mandates.

The reason is because a lack of a vaccine mandate pits workers against one another. It privileges the vaccine refusers against their immunocompromised colleagues. When unions don’t back vaccine mandates, they are effectively saying to their immunocompromised members that they’re on their own and the individual rights of vaccine refusers outweighs the collective right to workplace safety. This is a recipe for disaster for long-term workplace solidarity.

The number one lesson everyone should internalize whether you’re in a union or not is that if you care about workers rights you have to do everything in your power to avoid privileging one group of workers at the expense of another. This is why capitalists and bosses LOVE to pit full time against temps, faculty against staff, doctors against nurses, and on and on.

Many unions learned this lesson the hard way when they accepted two tier packages (basically shittier benefits for newer hires - UAW is a famous case study) and they have suffered as a result. I do not want to see unions suffer anymore setbacks. Those unions that oppose vaccine mandates are doing the work of the capitalist bosses by pitting groups of workers against each other.
posted by mostly vowels at 10:54 AM on September 12 [9 favorites]


Yeah, my union -- UUP -- has consistently said "We don't oppose vaccine changes per se but it would be a change in working conditions that requires negotiation with the union." So, I get that. But do the negotiating and make it happen -- this is a change in working conditions that UUP should be supporting, demanding. It's hard for me to think UUP is in solidarity with me if they don't care whether I live or die.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 12:54 PM on September 12 [2 favorites]


I have had some absolutely wild patient stories. Vaccine refusal and covid denial isn't just a shield. I literally had someone leave the hospital after being shot through the hand because we required a swab before surgery. I had someone refuse life-saving surgery because I couldn't promise that transfused blood would be from unvaccinated donors. I had someone shot multiple times in the chest give last words before surgery "just don't give me that vaccine." These examples are within about 2 weeks.

The is a small but very committed group that isn't going to take this peacefully.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:06 PM on September 12 [19 favorites]


I have had some absolutely wild patient stories

A friend of mine is a cardiac transplant nurse; she had a recipient refuse a transplant op because they refused to get tested prior to entering the hospital. After rushing madly to reach the hospital in time, they refused to get tested and walked away. The heart had to go into the trash, because that ignorant (expletive deleted) refused a swab and they couldn't get the heart to another matched recipient in time.

...the would-be recipient has, effectively, chosen death rather than a covid test. They won't get a second chance at a heart.
posted by aramaic at 3:23 PM on September 12 [25 favorites]


The heart had to go into the trash, because that ignorant (expletive deleted) refused a swab and they couldn't get the heart to another matched recipient in time.

That SOB may have doomed another person who that heart could have gone to and it couldn’t get to in time. Unfortunately the level of “could have” wouldn’t pass court muster for an indictment, but honestly if you fuck something like that up and someone else misses out on a potential transplant because you’re an asshole, well. I mean, you’re going to die to “own the libs” but potentially taking someone with you is evil.
posted by mephron at 5:33 AM on September 13 [7 favorites]


I mean, you’re going to die to “own the libs” but potentially taking someone with you is evil.

Well, that's what being unvaccinated is all about except that the unvax'ed asshole probably won't die.
posted by rdr at 6:00 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


I predict that, with the new vaccine mandate, some people will knuckle under and receive the vaccine, but will try something crazy to "neutralize" the vaccine once it's in their arms.
posted by adamrice at 6:32 AM on September 13


something crazy to "neutralize" the vaccine once it's in their arms

This could be a highly profitable opportunity for you, if you get ahead of it and start marketing on Facebook now.
posted by aramaic at 7:13 AM on September 13 [6 favorites]


This could be a highly profitable opportunity for you, if you get ahead of it and start marketing on Facebook now.

Ooooh, maybe this is the way to promote another healthy thing? "Psst - wanna neutralize the vaccine if you have to get it? We heard a vegan diet does that!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:54 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Greetings, friend. Do you wish to look as unvaccinated as me? Well, you've got the power inside you right now. Use it, and send one dollar to Vaccine Neutralizing Dude, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield. Don't delay. Eternal happiness is only a dollar away.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:11 AM on September 13 [2 favorites]


Just adding in my $0.02 as a federal employee - my own union (not sure I'd call it a "union" but it's the closest I have) came out pretty quickly in strong support of the mandate. The online internal discussions within my agency have been interesting to say the least - not many anti-vaxxers but man they are really entrenched (and for the most part, really do not understand science or logical reasoning). Already saw one today openly calling it "persecution" and "fascism". I know they are in the minority but it's still kind of scary that these are people that I have to work and live around.
posted by photo guy at 8:55 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


New York hospital to stop delivering babies as staff quit over vaccine rules

I woke up at 3AM this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, and now it is 6AM and I've driven 550 km and been to a difficult meeting and an easy one and read all the mails that came in while I was driving (53, of which 9 were commercial newsletters). All of this to say I may be a bit vulnerable. But when I read the headline above, I just started to cry. This has gone too far long ago. What is wrong with these people? Medical staff!
posted by mumimor at 8:56 AM on September 13 [7 favorites]


^Rural upstate NY. Lewis General is in Lowville and the nearest hospital is 20 minutes north in Carthage. The other option is 40 minutes northwest in Watertown. Services in five other departments at Lewis County General also may have to be curtailed if staff members resign rather than be vaccinated, authorities said. [About 165 unvaccinated employees, 73% of whom provide clinical services, have yet to declare their intentions.] (CBS)

Coincidentally, Lewis County, as a whole, has the state’s highest 7-day average percentage of positive COVID test results reported over the last 3 days.
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:44 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Medical staff!

And sane medical staff have their own growing worries.

Will Sommer:
News in QAnon world today: Veronica Wolski, a Covid denier known for hanging QAnon signs on bridges, died of Covid last night. QAnon believers, led by Lin Wood, had been deluging the hospital with demands that she receive ivermectin. Cops were called last night amid bomb threats.

Trump train a-rollin', all night long.
posted by delfin at 9:49 AM on September 13 [3 favorites]


NBC Chicago links: Veronica Wolski was 64, and had been hospitalized for weeks; the hospital, AMITA Resurrection Medical Center, was Targeted with ‘Hundreds' of Emails, Calls After Denying Patient Controversial Drug
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:37 AM on September 13


mumimor: The issue is that if you are already running at the bare minimum staffing, 5% of staff leaving clustered in a department can push you below being able to operate at all (as opposed to scaling back).
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:29 AM on September 13


After Denying Patient Controversial Drug

Any news outlet saying "controversial drug" instead of "livestock dewormer" should be sanctioned.
posted by phunniemee at 11:39 AM on September 13 [7 favorites]


Any news outlet saying "controversial drug" instead of "livestock dewormer" should be sanctioned.

I don’t know why people keep claiming that invermectin is being used off-label. It is after all meant to be injected into a horse’s ass.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:08 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


I don’t know why people keep claiming that invermectin is being used off-label. It is after all meant to be injected into a horse’s ass.

....this would be so much a better joke if I didn't know full well that ivermectin is almost always administered orally in practice. I last handled it this weekend when I gave my dog her heartworm chewable, in fact.

The thing about ivermectin use for COVID is that not all people who are demanding it for COVID are going for the livestock drug. It's funny to joke about the horse dewormer paste (it's often bright yellow, by the way), but ivermectin is a) an actual drug that is in fact often compounded for human use at human doses as well as for a whole lot of livestock, and b) something many of these yahoos, particularly the wealthier ones, are demanding from physicians--and the snake oil salesmen among the docs are happy enough to make bank prescribing that. We need to have coordinated and unified attacks on these hydroxychloroquinone and ivermectin scams coming from our medical professions and associations if we don't want snake oil to proliferate, and that means that there have to be consequences for doctors who set up these kinds of pill mills for misapplied prescriptions, too.
posted by sciatrix at 3:58 PM on September 13 [12 favorites]


Ivermectin is a Nobel Prize-winning anti-parasitic drug that has improved the health of millions and has helped to eradicate diseases like river blindness in multiple countries. But there's a shortage of the drug in Canada, as global demand surges due to unproven claims that the medicine can be used to treat COVID-19. That shortage could put people who actually need it for treatment at risk, including those who are more susceptible to illness from parasites due to COVID-19. (CBC)

Ivermectin for Covid-19: abundance of hype, dearth of evidence (STAT)

Arkansas doctor under investigation for prescribing anti-parasitic drug thousands of times for Covid-19 despite FDA warning (CNN)

US livestock stores see Ivermectin shortage
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:24 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


That shortage could put people who actually need it for treatment at risk, including those who are more susceptible to illness from parasites due to COVID-19.

Why does this sound so... familiar...
posted by delfin at 6:04 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


I don't have anything to contribute.

These days I just read things like the links above about the Invermectin shortage and then I blink a lot.

I don't exactly know when I was sucked into this universe through a passing wormhole and while it has been undeniably, um, interesting?... I'd like to return to my original reality at this time, if that's OK, thanks. I imagine my cats there are hungry and the plants probably need watering.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:16 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


They will find their chance somewhere to pull their shit. It doesn’t matter what you concede to them. They will always find something.

Yep. You could spend your entire life giving ground and trying to appease "the right" and they will never, ever be satisfied, because there will always be Another Thing that makes them red-faced and throwing spittle. You can't placate hate.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:27 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]


It's not about satisfaction, anyway. It's about power, and this drive can't be satisfied.
posted by rhizome at 4:46 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]


True that.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:52 PM on September 15


(Far Side "...Then a miracle happens" chalkboard cartoon goes here)

Sidney Harris, actually.
posted by BrashTech at 3:34 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]


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