Vaccine mandates nearing deadlines across the country

Morning In America

(NewsNation Now) — As mandates for Americans to get their COVID-19 shot are nearing the deadline, holdouts — those who decided they did not want the shot — are changing their minds in order to get in compliance and also keep their jobs.

Hours before a three-judge panel was expected to rule on a vaccination mandate for New York City teachers, a federal judge threw out the temporary hold on the mandate.

This set a new deadline for public school staff for Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. and could encourage other states to apply their own mandates.

California is weighing a statewide vaccination mandate for students — not just staff — once the Pfizer vaccine is approved for kids.

Some states have prohibited mandates at educational institutions, but there are legal hurdles. An Arizona judge struck down a prohibition on COVID-19 vaccine mandates at public colleges, ruling it unconstitutional.

Hundreds of colleges have vaccine mandates in place for the fall semester.

More than 650,000 workers at hospitals and nursing homes in New York had until Sept. 28 to get their first vaccine dose under the new requirement.

Thousands of health care workers in the state who were faced with either getting the COVID-19 vaccine or losing their jobs received at least one dose as the statewide mandate neared, according to state figures.

Health care facilities reported suspensions of unvaccinated employees, and some had scaled back services in anticipation of fewer workers. But they largely appeared to avoid dire staffing shortages so far, according to industry administrators and representatives.

“Right now, services, by and large, are not affected and they remain to be the high-quality level that we have come to expect from our New York hospitals,” said Kenneth E. Raske, president of The Greater New York Hospital Association.

Raske said a “substantial influx” of workers received a shot in the last day.

State figures show that by Monday evening, 92% of nursing home staff received at least one vaccine dose, up from 82% a week earlier.

As for workplaces, any company can legally require its employees to get the vaccine. Major ones will move the needle. Walmart requires headquarters workers to get vaccinated, but not most of the staffers you see in stores.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden met with top CEOs from Disney, Microsoft and Walgreens to push those companies to mandate vaccines.

Dozens of major companies have already crafted their own vaccination requirements.

77% of American adults have now had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, according to the CDC.

Vaccine mandates are leading to more people getting the shot, but how far should schools and employers go?

Former FDA Director Scott Gottlieb weighs in:

“I think some of the mandates from a public health standpoint I support. I think that the federal government is certainly within its right to mandate vaccinations among the federal workforce. It’s a matter of readiness of the federal workforce. I do believe that health care workers should get vaccinated. We require health care workers to get vaccinated for chickenpox, for flu, for hepatitis b, as a function of protecting the patients that they care for.”

While Gottlieb is in favor of a mandate for federal workers, he says the case for small businesses isn’t as strong.

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