Opinion | Should Vaccinations Be Required for Some?

Readers offer different views. “If it requires a mandate to bring this pandemic under control, the sooner the better,” one reader says. Another cites “personal concerns” about the vaccine.

To the Editor:

Re “These People Must Get Vaccinations,” by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Aaron Glickman and Amaya Diana (Op-Ed, April 15):

Dr. Emanuel and his colleagues argue that health care workers, teachers, students and first responders should be required to get vaccinated for work. They specifically express concern about high hesitancy among nursing home workers given their high-risk patients. I am a pro-vaccine pediatrician who combats vaccine hesitancy regularly, but I believe that the authors have ignored crucial context.

They don’t acknowledge that vaccine hesitancy is frequently rooted in history, race, sex and class. Half of nursing assistants are people of color, 90 percent are women and 20 percent are immigrants. The average pay is less than $30,000 per year, and nearly one in five live in poverty despite working. It should surprise no one that there is a high degree of skepticism toward government public health interventions among this group.

While I agree fully that employers and the government should use every strategy to encourage vaccine acceptance, mandates are a bludgeon that will ultimately alienate already marginalized groups, and further erode trust in the public-health establishment.

Runjun Kumar

To the Editor:

I couldn’t agree more with this Op-Ed. I work for a large health care organization that could easily mandate vaccinations as a condition of employment. Thus far, it has chosen not to do so, for reasons that escape me.

A word to my anti-vax colleagues: We all have choices. Yours is this: If you won’t comply with vaccination, then quit your damn job, and stop endangering your patients and the rest of us.

Bruce Taylor
Red Bluff, Calif.

To the Editor:

I’ve been taking care of Covid patients with cool, evidence-based science for over a year. Now Ezekiel Emanuel and his co-authors breathlessly, and with some panic, demand that health workers be forced to receive Covid vaccinations. But they also note that significant numbers of us have no plans to get the vaccine.

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