The Delta variant of coronavirus is causing panic in some circles, with some cities implementing mask mandates once more while business and public health officials plead for Americans to get vaccinated. But the push for a vaccine mandate appears to be coming largely from corporate media circles.
The White House press corps was abuzz Monday, appearing to lobby White House press secretary Jen Psaki on a potential mask and vaccine mandate. Multiple national reporters spent the day tweeting pro-mandate stories and quotes.
Gov. Newsom: “We have lifesaving vaccines. We can end this pandemic, move away from the face-covering debates, & address this once and for all. In the next few weeks, we can end this pandemic in the US. We have the one thing the rest of the world dreams of, and that’s abundance.”
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) July 26, 2021
Collins also shared a tweet linking to a story about four Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) employees who died from the coronavirus, all of whom were unvaccinated.
CNN published a column by The New York Time Best Selling Author Theresa Brown who said “personal choice must surrender to professional responsibility” for health care workers hesitant to take the vaccine.
The V.A. announced Monday all healthcare workers would be required to get the vaccine. New York Times (NYT) reporter Jennifer Steinhauer said the move came after the secretary of V.A. decided too many lives were at risk, possibly implying the decision was life-saving.
The surge of new cases, combined with the push from the corporate media elites, may very well also accelerate the rise of vaccine mandates.
The new tactic seems likely to use the Delta variant as reason to demand Americans take the vaccine, a theory that could soon become a reality if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants full approval to the vaccines. The NYT reported that, had more Americans been vaccinated, “there would be no resurgence – of the Delta variant, or Alpha variant, or any other version of the coronavirus.”
“The United States will be vulnerable to every one [of the variants] until it can immunize millions of people who now refuse to get the vaccine, are still persuadable but hesitant, or have not yet gained access,” the NYT reported. “The unvaccinated will set the country on fire over and over again.”
The NYT report does acknowledge that some vaccinated people “will become infected.” (And they have, even in the White House, though the numbers haven’t been disclosed yet despite explicit and repeated promises of transparency.)
Epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Bill Hanage said “the larger the force of infection that comes from the pandemic in unvaccinated populations, the more breakthrough infections there will be.”
The report then suggests what most left-leaning politicos and corporate outlets appear to be waiting for: A federal mandate.
“Short of a federal mandate – or a patchwork of mandates by municipalities, hospitals, colleges and businesses – it is hard to see how enough Americans will be immunized to form a buttress against the virus.”
So how exactly would this work, if the NYT got its way? It all starts with the FDA granting full approval to vaccines.
“I think once the vaccines go through full FDA approval, everything should be on the table, and I think that everything will be on the table at the level of municipalities, states, employees, venues, government agencies,” former COVID-19 response coordinator for the Biden administration Andy Slavitt said, according to NBC News.
Currently, the federal government cannot mandate a vaccine that only has Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson all have EUA. (RELATED: Pentagon Might Consider Making COVID-19 Vaccines Mandatory For US Troops, Spokesman Says)
Individuals are required to be informed “of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product, of the consequences, if any, of refusing administration of the product, and of the alternatives to the product that are available and of their benefits and risks,” under the EUA.
Still, the statute could likely face some legal challenges as it has not been interpreted by the courts and could be interpreted to mean either mandates are not permitted under the first clause of the provision or that individuals can refuse the mandate but face unspecified “consequences.”
As the Delta variant spreads and more is known about the efficacy over time of the vaccines against the original strain, boosters are becoming a more popular idea for those who’ve already chosen to get vaccinated. They could also be part of a mandate program.
Several studies have suggested a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine won’t be enough to fend off the Delta variant, and that individuals may require booster shots, according to CNBC. Executives at all three EUA-approved vaccines said they believe Americans will need to take the booster shots going forward, with Pfizer executives reportedly planning to ask the FDA to approve booster shots.
And if you chose to already get a Johnson & Johnson shot, you might soon need one of the mRNA vaccines to protect you, according to CNBC.
“I would guess that those who received a single dose of Johnson & Johnson may need a booster of an mRNA vaccine than other people need boosters,” infectious disease expert at the University of Toronto Dr. Isaac Bogoch said, according to CNBC.
Pfizer-choosing Americans could also be subject to booster shots. A study in Israel found Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is only 39% effective at combating the Delta variant but still provides protection against severe illness and hospitalization, according to CNBC.
A vaccine mandate in light of uncertainty about the effectiveness of the different vaccines could still be possible, however, with more than 50 major U.S. medical organizations urging health care providers recently to mandate coronavirus vaccines for all personnel.
Even if the government doesn’t take the heavy-handed approach of straightforwardly mandating the shot, private companies and businesses might just do the work for them.