No Jab, No Job

March 4, 2021

Companies should be allowed to demand vaccination against COVID as a condition of employment.

The pandemic’s days are numbered, thanks to heroic efforts by the medical science community in developing vaccines.

With the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose, easily storable vaccine, progress against the pandemic will accelerate. The fast development of COVID vaccines is, in my opinion, the most magnificent achievement of medical science since the medication that turned AIDS from a gruesome death sentence into a manageable medical condition.

The food industry is making great efforts to get the vaccine into the arms of its employees. Some companies are offering bonuses to get vaccinated; others are giving shots right on the job site; some are doing both.

This is a good thing, even though food companies unquestionably have some self-interest in making sure their employees get vaccinated. But as vaccines become more and more widely available, the question the industry, and America as a whole, will have to face is: Should vaccinations be mandatory as a condition of employment?

It’s a tough question, because Americans don’t like being told what to do – especially when it comes to bodily intrusions. Some 30% of Americans plan to avoid getting vaccinated, according to a recent poll by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

I understand that it’s a tricky situation, but I come down firmly in favor of “no jab, no job.” Requiring vaccinations is an important way for companies to keep all their employees safe from a potentially fatal disease.

We require vaccinations to attend public schools and to travel. I don’t really see, given the present set of circumstances, why work should be any different.

I hope that food companies won’t lose the carrot part of the equation – that they’ll keep on incentivizing vaccinations and otherwise making them easy for workers to get. But when it’s a question of massive deadly infections, sometimes you just can’t do without the stick too.

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