Employers May Generally Demand COVID-19 Vaccination as Condition of Employment

So says a federal district court in Houston, in a lawsuit over a Houston hospital's policy.

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From Bridges v. Houston Methodist Hosp., decided yesterday by Judge Lynn Hughes (S.D. Tex.):

On April 1, 2021, Houston Methodist Hospital announced a policy requiring employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 by June 7, 2021, starting with the leadership and then inoculating the remaining workers, all at its expense.

Jennifer Bridges and 116 other employees sued to block the injection requirement and the terminations. She argued that Methodist is unlawfully forcing its employees to be injected with one of the currently-available vaccines or be fired. The hospital has moved to dismiss this case….

Bridges dedicates the bulk of her pleadings to arguing that the currently, available COVID-19 vaccines are experimental and dangerous. This claim is false, and it is also irrelevant. Bridges argues that, if she is fired for refusing to be injected with a vaccine, she will be wrongfully terminated. Vaccine safety and efficacy are not considered in adjudicating this issue.

Texas law [of wrongful termination, as opposed to employment discrimination and the like -EV] only protects employees from being terminated for refusing to commit an act carrying criminal penalties to the worker…. Bridges does not specify what illegal act she has refused to perform, but in the press-release style of the complaint, she says that she refuses to be a "human guinea pig." Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination is not an illegal act, and it carries no criminal penalties. She is refusing to accept inoculation that, in the hospital's judgment, will make it safer for their workers and the patients in Methodist's care.

Bridges also argues that the injection requirement violates public policy. Texas does not recognize this exception to at-will employment, and if it did, the injection requirement is consistent with public policy. The Supreme Court has held that (a) involuntary quarantine for contagious diseases and (b) state­imposed requirements of mandatory vaccination do not violate due process.

On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said that employers can require employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 subject to reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs that preclude vaccination. This is not binding, but it is advice about the position one is likely to meet at the Commission….

Bridges also asks this court to declare that the injection requirement is invalid because it violates federal law. She says that no one can be mandated to receive "unapproved" medicines in emergencies, and she insists that no currently-available vaccines have been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Federal law authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to introduce into interstate commerce medical products intended for use in an emergency. It also requires the Secretary to ensure product recipients understand the "potential benefits and risks of use" and "the option to accept or refuse administration of the product."

Bridges has misconstrued this provision. It confers certain powers and responsibilities to the Secretary of Health and Human Services in an emergency. It neither expands nor restricts the responsibilities of private employers; in fact, it does not apply at all to private employers like the hospital in this case. It does not confer a private opportunity to sue the government, employer, or worker….

She also argues that injection requirement violates federal law governing the protection of "human subjects." She says that the injection requirement is forcing its employees to participate in a human trial because no currently, available vaccine has been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Federal law requires participants give legal, effective, and informed consent before participating in a human trial; this consent cannot be obtained through coercion or undue influence. Bridges says the threat of termination violates the law.

Bridges has again misconstrued this provision, and she has now also misrepresented the facts. The hospital's employees are not participants in a human trial. They are licensed doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and staff members. The hospital has not applied to test the COVID-19 vaccines on its employees, it has not been approved by an institutional review board, and it has not been certified to proceed with clinical trials….

She also says that the injection requirement is invalid because it violates the Nuremberg Code, and she likens the threat of termination in this case to forced medical experimentation during the Holocaust. The Nuremberg Code does not apply because Methodist is a private employer, not a government. Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible. Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on victims that caused pain, mutilation, permanent disability, and in many cases, death.

Although her claims fail as a matter of law, it is also necessary to clarify that Bridges has not been coerced. Bridges says that she is being forced to be injected with a vaccine or be fired. This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the COVID-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients, and their families safer. Bridges can freely choose to accept or refuse a COVID-19 vaccine; however, if she refuses, she will simply need to work somewhere else.

If a worker refuses an assignment, changed office, earlier start time, or other directive, he may be properly fired. Every employment includes limits on the worker's behavior in exchange for his remuneration. That is all part of the bargain….

NEXT: Today in Supreme Court History: June 13, 1977

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  1. Yeah, and frankly, if you are a hospital worker bringing these suits, you should be fired just for this idiocy. The job is to help patients. If they don’t want to do that by inviting the possibility of spreading covid to them … like their license ought to be revoked.

    Like there a patients who are high risk and there are patients with the disease, this isn’t a case where one can just say oh there is such a low chance of getting it …

    1. Yes, while I am generally sympathetic to individual freedom, this is a hospital where sick and vulnerable people go. Hospitals have all kinds of requirements of their staff that the average person would find annoying. You don’t like it, don’t work for a hospital.

      1. Sounds right to me.

        1. The decision is rational. Half of infected young people have no symptoms. Vaccines reduce the transmission rate to high risk patients.

          1. Also see the proper decision on restricting black beards because they loosen the seal of firemen masks.

          2. Vaccines reduce the transmission rate to high risk patients.
            Wouldn’t it be more efficient to vaccinate the high risk patients against their will?

            Or since we didn’t lead with vaccinatting the high risk patients, that is not really the goal?

            1. Yes we did. They had priority. My elderly relatives were vaccinated well before I was.
              What we did not do is mandate vaccination for anyone. Which is as it should be.

            2. Some of those high risk patients have compromised immune systems (sometimes due to taking medications that suppress their immune systems in order to prevent rejection of their organ transplants). The vaccines available may not be of much help to these patients at preventing contracting COVID-19 or reducing its severity.

              Of course, these people normally have to be vigilant about their own health and avoid taking unnecessary risks with exposure, but they have little control over those risks if they end up in the hospital in an emergency.

              1. Organ transplant docs want their patients vaccinated. The vaccines has them make antibodies to the virus spike protein, not to the organ transplanted. Much of the trouble from COVID is from an inflammation storm, its being a weak cold virus. The immune suppression drugs are used to calm the at storm in non-transplant patient.

                1. Organ transplant patients aren’t the only ones with compromised immune systems. Many cancer patients have compromised immune systems, and lose their immunity from previous vaccinations after treatment. Vaccinating them would be a waste.
                  (And as a data point, back when I started working for a hospital, everyone had to take a TB test. Failure to do so was grounds for termination. Testing positive just put some restrictions on you. My job has 0 patient interactions, and there aren’t any patients in our building. We got tested anyway.)

            3. Given that becoming “fully vaccinated” requires 3 weeks with Johnson & Johnson, 5 weeks with Pfizer, and 6 weeks with Moderna, vaccinating a high risk patient when they come to the hospital, whether according to their will or not, isn’t likely to do much in a useful timeframe. It might pay dividends down the road, but it’s not a substitute.

              1. They should have been forced to take the vaccine at the beginning.
                Seems that all agree penalizing those that refuse to do the right thing is well within the power to strip individual rights as long as the fig leaf of public health is enacted. When I hear that rifles are a public health risk, and CAGCC is a health risk, we are on the edge of being stripped of all BoR protections.(also balancing response to covid, with response to Aids. Some peoples rights are more important)
                I have had the virus, and I have voluntarily been vaccinated with pfizer, back when it took me a week to find an appointment 45 minutes from home.
                At this point in time, any person that comes down with covid has made their choice. Individual freedom should not be surrendered for meaningless virtue signaling.

                Masks work(or do they?) so if the trained medical staff are masked up, the chance of transmission has to be almost zero

                1. My wife’s dental clinic is leaving it up to their employees, and the rationale apparently IS that, given all the precautions they take as a matter of course, the gain from requiring vaccination wouldn’t be worth it.

                  1. Brett,
                    I have not read this as it just appeared in my notices. But you may want to look at it.
                    “Prior COVID-19 protects against reinfection, even in the absence of detectable antibodies” J. Infection, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2021.05.024

                  2. A dental office has a lower duration of exposure and lower average risk than a true hospital, so that’s rational. However, I can understand and even support mandatory vaccinations in a medical setting.

                    As has been mentioned elsewhere on this thread, there are a host of requirements to work in a hospital, including rare vaccinations and routine tuberculosis tests. I have no idea who took this case to trial, as it’s blazingly obvious.

      2. I note though that this decision didn’t rely on the fact that the employer was a hospital, with perhaps an exceptional justification for imposing a vaccination requirement. Judge Hughes’s reasoning would apply to any private employer in Texas.

    2. I kind of wonder if she is so ignorant about this issue what other aspects of modern medicine she doesn’t understand.

      Certainly if she has a history of allergies to vaccines, or she has already had covid then I could see her reluctance, but absent that I don’t understand.

      1. Or maybe she is fertile, and knows that there have been NO studies on the effect of the vaccines on future pregnancies.

  2. What about the law that Abbott signed just this week prohibiting businesses from requesting vaccination information? The list of exemptions that I saw did include nursing homes, but did not include hospitals.

    Is Texas fully open for business or is it not?

    1. I thought that applied to customers, not employers. A business can’t force all of its customers to be vaccinated. It can do that for its employees (I think that is what the law said, could be wrong)

      1. Yes, I think that’s right. It was for patrons not employees.

        Maybe legislature will act now, but I have to believe they’d make an exception for the health care industry.

    2. If you’re referring to SB 968 then I’m not sure what the point of your question is.

  3. The US Supreme Court ruled in Jacobson v Massachusetts (1905) that US states could enforce mandatory vaccination. This case was easir since it’s a private company not a state actor.

    IOW, it’s settled law for over a century.

    I suppose that if the plaintiffs were unable to take the vaccine for medical reasons they might have an ADA claim, but “don’t wanna” is too thin an excuse.

    1. Jacobson v. MA was decided under the US Constitution. This was decided under Texas law. Texas could be stricter on this issue, but isn’t.

      1. Well, the plaintiffs made claims under Texas, Federal, and international laws (Nuremberg code), and failed to prevail in any of them, so it wasn’t just Texas law at issue (which is presumably why it wound up in federal court rather than state courts.

        But you are probably correct that had Texas been stricter about it under their employment laws the plaintiffs may have had a case.

    2. No, Jacobson involved a fine for not being vaccinated, and was in the era of Plessy.

    3. That’s not actually what the court ruled in Jacobson.

      It is admittedly a very common mistake. Even subsequent Supreme Court decisions have made that mistake when citing the precedent.

      1. Perhaps imprecise language above. Jacobson did not empower the state to “force” anyone to take the vaccine, i.e. hold them down and administer the vaccine against their will. It did allow them to “enforce” the rule by means of levying a fine if you are unvaccinated. Maybe you have a different interpretation…

        Likewise, Methodist can’t “force” anyone to take the vaccine, but they can “enforce” their rule by disciplining or firing employees who wan’t take the vaccine.

    4. “The US Supreme Court ruled in Jacobson v Massachusetts (1905) that US states could enforce mandatory vaccination. ”

      And in 1927 they ruled the the principle extended to compulsory eugenic sterilization as well.

      1. Buck v. Bell — Rev. Arthur “No More Rightwing Imbeciles” Kirkland’s favorite opinion?

  4. Outrageous! Next thing you know, they’ll be installing lights at intersections and making us stop when it changes to red.

    1. A town in Germany removed all theirs, and ended traffic accidents.

    2. Outrageous! Next thing you know, they’ll be installing lights at intersections and making us stop when it changes to red.

      Not that I disagree with the decision in question (I don’t), but that’s just about the dumbest analogy you could have come up with.

  5. I know a guy in the military who was forced to take a number of vaccines … including an actual experimental Anthrax vaccine that he took almost a week to recover from … but he still didn’t take the covid vaccine and the military didn’t force him to (at least as of a month ago)

    Like at some point this hesitancy is just ridiculous.

    1. I actually have a daughter that works at Methodist and is pregnant with her second kid. Due in two weeks.

      She had decided to hold off getting the vaccination until after the baby was born just out of an abundance of caution. No anti-vax sentiment at all, just a parent wanting to take no chances involving risk to her child. After all, there is early info as to safety in adults, and they’re developing it in teens, but there’s really nothing as to any impact on babies. Glibly just saying it’s safe doesn’t cut it, and the medical people that manage Methodist should know that.

      But Methodist is known down here as being very public relations oriented. So she got the vaccine and it’s probably fine but it’s still an unnecessary aggravation. And risk.

      1. That aspect is a bit odd. I know of a reputable big name hospital elsewhere that makes sure to provide an exemption in case of pregnancy. As you said, it could just be a quirk of Methodist. But I am curious whether any official gov’t guidance addresses the pregnancy issue definitively.

        1. Exemptions for legitimate medical reasons — and pregnancy, like a compromised immune system, could be such a circumstance — make sense.

          That point is unrelated to issues involving belligerent ignorance, superstition, or anti-social personality.

          No one should be compelled to be vaccinated, in my judgment. But those who refuse should accept the consequences (ineligibility for certain employment or admission to others’ property, for example) like adults and sustain severe penalties any attempt to avoid those consequences through fraud or other means.

          1. I’m glad to see that the natural immunity denial is starting to subside.

            No point vaccinating those who’ve had COVID-19: Findings of Cleveland Clinic study

            “Interestingly, no significant difference in COVID-19 incidence was observed between previously infected and currently unvaccinated participants, previously infected and currently vaccinated participants, and previously uninfected and currently vaccinated participants.”

            This was always what should have been expected; While vaccines can induce better immunity than previous infection, that’s not the usual result.

            1. So, the stuff that Mace Rothenberg said on April 12, 2021 turns out to be completely wrong? Especially the stuff about “vaccination providing many fold higher (10, 100 fold) protection in people who have had prior infections”?

              He said:
              “Get vaccinated. The reason being that your body, when it’s exposed to the virus itself, will generate an antibody response that will help the body fight off that infection and also potentially repel it in the future. But what has been found is the level of antibodies produced with a vaccination, especially in people who have had prior infections, is many fold higher, 10, 100 fold higher than what your body had generated to the natural infection.”

              at 15:26 here:

              https://www.c-span.org/video/?510698-5/washington-journal-mace-rothenberg-discusses-development-pfizer-vaccine

              1. To be clear, I suppose it’s possible the vaccine creates more antibodies than the infection, and quite plausible that it creates more of the very specific antibody the vaccine is designed to create. (Which is only a tiny part of the natural immune response.)

                That doesn’t necessarily imply that it’s more effective at preventing subsequent infections. The thing is, when a previously exposed individual is exposed again, they resume manufacturing antibodies. So the residual amount of antibodies in your blood isn’t that great a guide to how aggressively you’ll fight off the infection.

                The study I linked to looked at the actual effectiveness of the immune response, not the antibody titer.

              2. Doug,
                The 10,000 fold claim is bogus, pure and simple.

                1. The literal text I quoted was from the caption text transcript provided on the c-span web page. As such it may look like 10, 100 (ten-thousand-one-hundred), but what Mace Rothenberg said was ten –pause– one-hundred.

                  I suppose that means a range of 10 fold to 100 fold. That is what seems clear to me from watching the clip at the link I provided above, which only takes about 30 seconds to watch.

                  1. Thanks, Doug.
                    I doubt that there is data to support even a 10x claim, but I have not specifically looked for such and it has not been cited in my daily article highlight service.

          2. “Exemptions for legitimate medical reasons — and pregnancy…”

            I assume that you exclude pregnancy from “legitimate medical reasons” because there’s no evidence that the vaccine adversely affect pregnant women.

            But why should irrationally vaccine-hesitant pregnant women be treated differently than anybody else? Not much exalted reason going on there, Arthur.

            1. My statement did not exclude pregnancy from legitimate medical reasons. To the contrary, it did the opposite. It expressly contemplated that pregnancy could be a legitimate medical reason.

              Get an education, clingers. Start with standard English.

              1. “Get an education, clingers. Start with standard English.”

                You get an education. You said, “legitimate medical reasons — and pregnancy” which implies that pregnancy” which implies that pregnancy is not a legitimate medical reason.

                But your sentence was gibberish anyway, which I expect from an illiterate self-hating goober like you.

                But back to the question, what’s the evidence that pregnancy legitimizes vaccine hesitancy? For someone who claims to be the head of the church of exalted reason, you’re not very good at supporting your claims with evidence.

                1. For a systemic chemical like a drug the burden of proof is on the party advocating putting the substance in your body.

                  They did that as to adults. The best they could under a time crunch anyway. There in process and almost finished doing it for teens. But there’s been no study in pregnant women as to what it might do to the baby.

                  In the absence of data you never assume it’s ok, which seems to be what you’re advocating.

                  1. If you’re advocating for a general vaccine requirement, but think pregnant women should be exempted, you need to produce evidence that pregnant women are likely to react differently to the vaccine than other people.

                    There are lots of categories of people that the vaccine has never been specifically tested on.

                    1. The i evaluated risk is not to the pregnant mother, it’s to the developing baby.

                      That has not been studied because there hasn’t been time for an adequate data set of births by an adequate data set of women who had the vaccine.

                      Since you don’t have any clue if there’s an impact, you give the parents the right to decide. Once the baby is born the requirement on the mother is as it would have been after the pregnancy.

                    2. Absent the pregnancy.

                2. ” You get an education. You said, “legitimate medical reasons — and pregnancy” ”

                  That is the second time you misleadingly truncated my statement. Whether that was done consequent to mendacious intent or by clueless flailing is irrelevant to the point that you don’t know what you are talking about.

                  I expressly stated that pregnancy could be a legitimate medical reason. Ask someone with an education to try to explain this for you. You may need to travel to the next town, which I understand could be inconvenient, but that is not my fault.

                  1. “That is the second time you misleadingly truncated my statement.”

                    Lol. Your statement, “Exemptions for legitimate medical reasons — and pregnancy, like a compromised immune system, could be such a circumstance — make sense.” is gibberish.

                    “I expressly stated that pregnancy could be a legitimate medical reason.”

                    No, you typed a bunch of words with no structure into the comment box. Perhaps you can get someone literate to type your comments for you.

                    Try as you might, Arthur, you can’t be anything other that the goober that you are.

                    But you still haven produced any evidence that pregnancy is a legitimate reason to get a vaccine exemption.

                    1. I never intended to advance any such evidence, especially not to flatter an illiterate, bigoted, vanquished clinger.

                    2. TwelveInch, Kirkland’s statement is clear, and means what he says it means. You are mistaken to say otherwise, and offensive to call it, “gibberish.”

                    3. Are you perhaps not a native English speaker? It’s your second or third language? Because that’ was hardly gibberish.

                    4. If the relevant sentence puzzles anyone, perhaps substituting parentheses for the dashes might help:

                      Exemptions for legitimate medical reasons (and pregnancy, like a compromised immune system, could be such a circumstance) make sense.

                      Or:

                      Exemptions for legitimate medical reasons make sense. Pregnancy, like a compromised immune system, could be such a circumstance.

                    5. TwelveInchPianist ,
                      I frequently think Rev’s comments are ridiculous. But that one is not gibberish; it’s perfectly clear and says what Rev says it means. You may not like dashes, but that doesn’t make sentences that use them unstructured or unclear.

                  2. “But that one is not gibberish; it’s perfectly clear and says what Rev says it means.”

                    Maybe he meant something like, “Exemptions for legitimate medical reasons like a compromised immune system or pregnancy, could make sense”

                    But sorry guys, the sentence as written is gibberish:
                    “Exemptions for legitimate medical reasons — and pregnancy, like a compromised immune system, could be such a circumstance — make sense.”

                    And he still hasn’t provided any evidence for an exemption for pregnant women.

                    1. Um, no. Kirkland’s a worthless troll, but the quoted sentence is perfectly clear, not “gibberish.”

        2. “But I am curious whether any official gov’t guidance addresses the pregnancy issue definitively.”

          I haven’t seen any, and believe me we’ve been watching. Early on her OB was telling her that there was no information so she had to make the decision on gut feel, so she pretty naturally chose the cautious route.

      2. Mandating a pregnant employee be vaccinated is stupid because the baby isn’t covered under worker’s comp and hence not only is the hospital subject to unlimited liability from the parents for anything wrong with the child, with the child getting another chance to sue at age 18 as well.

        The advantage of worker’s comp is that the employer’s liability is limited in a way it isn’t for other injuries.

        The larger problem is that the vaccines have only been authorized under emergency use because there is no other treatment for Covid, but there is — this is the issue of Chloroquine.

        And hence now that we know that Faucci knew that Chloroquine is effective, the legitimacy of the vaccine authorization evaporates.

        THIS then brings in the Nuremburg protocols, as all experimental stuff *must* be voluntary…

        1. Ed, just stop. The vaccines are proving to be safe and effective for adults. I don’t understand why your tribe is so vaccine averse, but in light of the results it makes y’all look like a bunch of stupid luddites.

        2. Ed,
          Another one of your typically mindless posts. Shows what a PhD in education is worth.

          1. I’m skeptical that Ed possesses a doctorate, in education or anything else. Everyone who teaches in higher education has had those students who are autodidacts and think themselves polymaths. They also think they know as much, if not more, than trained experts, and compulsively throw in anecdotes that they think proves … something. Sometimes the anecdote is factual, sometimes not, but rarely is it germane. They also tend to be immune to explanations as to why they are off base, and are oblivious to the snickers and eyerolls around them. Sound like Ed? You hope you get a keen mind in your class, but you hope even harder that you don’t get an Ed. *Maybe* Ed has some graduate training, but his type of idiocy doesn’t profile as a career academic. Academia is filled with dolts, to be sure, but his behaviour suggests an “actually …”-type autodidact polymath.

            1. All Marxist scumbags need to STFU. You are committing the Fallacy of Irrelevance. I understand you are frustrated and have the emotional development of a 10 year old. Nevertheless, control yourselves better. You sound stupid.

        3. The larger problem is that the vaccines have only been authorized under emergency use because there is no other treatment for Covid, but there is — this is the issue of Chloroquine.

          And hence now that we know that Faucci knew that Chloroquine is effective, the legitimacy of the vaccine authorization evaporates.

          THIS then brings in the Nuremburg protocols, as all experimental stuff *must* be voluntary…

          You manage to combine scientific illiteracy with blatant lies and legal illiteracy, all in three sentences. Impressive.

    2. After the Anthrax debacle Congress made it unlawful to order troops to take a vaccine that is not fully approved. When it becomes fully approved the choice will be between a shot and a discharge.

    3. The more you tell me I have to get it, the less I want to take it.

    4. After the FUBAR with anthrax , Congress took the ability of the Military to order non-fully authorized vaccines away form the military, The day fully authorized vaccines are available troops will have to make the choice of a shot or the door.

      1. That is not entirely correct. While “the Military” can’t issue such an order, said statute allows the president to waive that restriction.

  6. Have any of the the COVID 19 vaccine’s been approved by the FDA?

    1. No. Not enough testing yet.

      1. The vaccines have been administered a couple of a hundred million times, with side effects tracked. That is more testing the any other medication.

        1. “The vaccines have been administered a couple of a hundred million times, with side effects tracked. That is more testing the any other medication.”

          You left out the phrase “short term” in front of side effects. These vaccines have not been tested “more than any other medication”.

          And before you turn this political, I’m vaccinated. But objective fact is objective fact.

          1. Wow, this comment section is a lot better than the last time I looked. I’ll try coming back.

            Lots of things in medicine only show bad effects years or decades later, like asbestos. True there. The vaccines have not been in existence very long. True also. True and relevant.

            What reassured me was when my (extensive) research turned up general agreement among people who spend their professional lives knowing vaccines that once you’re past the first days or weeks, you’re in the clear and the only long term effect is immune system memory. Even back when the EUAs happened, we had months of monitored followup.

            Logic and biology don’t mix well, but logic would suggest the same. The mRNA is gone in days at body temperature, in cells that all have mRNA recycling systems. The spike proteins get eaten. Unlike asbestos or tobacco there’s nothing long-lasting in the picture, except the immune system’s memories.

            1. “Wow, this comment section is a lot better than the last time I looked”

              Today there are far fewer personal insults and the like and folks are offing their opinions and what they see as evidence.
              It is not always like that

              1. The recently implemented mute function has helped considerably.

            2. Wow, this comment section is a lot better than the last time I looked.

              All of the usual cranks are present and accounted for; they just are less annoying than usual.

              My theory for this tracks the broader phenomenon of vaccine uptake among Trumpers. Notwithstanding mainstream media reporting of idiotic vaccine hesitancy, a significant number of Trumpers appear to have been actually eager to take advantage of the vaccines, as they’ve become available. Some vaxx-hoaxers exist, to be sure; but many of those who had previously claimed that COVID-19 was little more than a “bad flu,” or who felt “herd immunity” via mass exposure was preferable to economic shutdowns, etc., have embraced the vaccine.

              Similarly, while this site’s most obnoxious Trumpers are quick to twist themselves in pretzels to defend the Republican party’s creep toward fascism, my guess is that they dispense with this double-think when it comes to matters of their own health (and that of their elderly relatives). A number of these Trumpers are themselves of advanced age, retired, etc., and if they have living parents, those parents are likely to be elderly and possibly living in institutions.

              1. Why wouldn’t Trump supporters be eager for the vaccine? Setting aside that anti-vaxers are, if anything, predominantly left-wing, and setting aside the actual merits, the only reason we’ve had this vaccine available for half a year now is a Trump program. So the political dynamics hardly indicate that Trump supporters should oppose it.

                I’d have gotten the vaccine at my earliest opportunity myself, if I hadn’t gotten Covid first.

                1. “Why wouldn’t Trump supporters be eager for the vaccine? ”

                  That’s a good question. I can speculate many reasons why, but the phenomenon is undoubtedly real:
                  https://www.npr.org/2021/06/09/1004430257/theres-a-stark-red-blue-divide-when-it-comes-to-states-vaccination-rates

                  McGill University has an interesting take on it, “Anti-vaccine sentiment is strongly associated with conspiracy thinking and protection of individual freedoms, traits that are finding a home among far-right groups.” So the stereotype of an anti-vaxxer as a crunchy granola munching hippie is not so true anymore. Fox News, and Tucker Carlson in particular spout anti-vaccine misinformation on a regular basis. Perhaps this is why?

                    1. I love how “protection of individual freedoms” is a “trait that is finding a home among far-right groups,” according to the unhinged liberal way of framing things. But yes, there’s some truth to that. The left tends to be more communist and authoritarian while the right tends to be less communist and authoritarian.

                      I never watch TV, so once in a while I get curious when someone says something like “Fox News and Tucker Carlson in particular spout anti-vaccine misinformation.” The immediate assumption is that this person is repeating CNN misinformation about Fox misinformation. I google “tucker vaccine misinformation,” and this seems about right. “CNN’s Brian Stelter Rips Tucker Carlson . . ” Looking at the CNN article by Brian Stelter, it just the same old nonsense. “He talked about VAERS data, oh no!!” It claims to be refuting a claim that “correlation is causation” but if you go back and run the tape, virtually guaranteed such a claim was not made.

                2. Why wouldn’t Trump supporters be eager for the vaccine?

                  Well, generally speaking, Trump supporters are not very intelligent.

            3. Lots of things in medicine only show bad effects years or decades later, like asbestos. True there. The vaccines have not been in existence very long. True also. True and relevant.

              Asbestos toxiicity had been suspected in classical times, but it was not until the 19th century that the science was fully developed enough to actually understand the mechanism of asbestos toxicity.

        2. Sure. But it’s typically about length of time. We have no data on long term effects (and cannot).

        3. Emergency use is not testing in the rubrics of Phase 3 trials.
          However, the use and tracking of outcomes is great enough that one can say that dangerous effects are very rare.

        4. CDC is holding an emergency meeting about the fatal heart enlargement deaths.

          1. In a small number of cases. Just because the agencies are diligent at looking at all potentially serious complications is an extreme distance from staying that the vaccine is more dangerous that COVID-19.

            1. Vioxx — a true miracle drug — was yanked from the market for far less…

          2. In any group of 100 million people, many rare events happen. The denominator is from fifth grade. Lawyer math stops at the fourth grade, that needed to count money.

        5. So you are saying that everyone who gets the vaccine *is* a test subject, despite the judge in this case asserting that they are not?

        6. The results have been a disaster. There have been more injuries and deaths reported from Covid vaccines in 4 months than all other vaccines combined for the last 15 years. The adverse effects database is open to anyone, it’s easy to use, and if you spend 30 minutes with it, you’d be horrified. Only a crazy person would take a Covid vaccine. It’s especially bad for teenagers even though Covid is harmless to them.

          1. Brophy,
            ” than all other vaccines combined for the last 15 years.”
            You have actually looked at the reports and done the sums?
            Somehow I don’t believe you about that.
            “It’s especially bad for teenagers even though Covid is harmless to them.
            COVID is not harmless to any age groups. Your exaggerations speak loudly that you are not to be believed

          2. Th VAR|ERS database just count CLAIMs, not cases, It is about as reliable a data source as the comentets sections ofg the Gateway pundit. Anyone can enter a claim there,

      2. Question out of ignorance – what data are they waiting for? Is it just that no one has been vaccinated for more than a few months and something untoward might surface later?

        (I get that the normal process is incrementally larger trials over an extended period, but for better or worse we skipped the incremental bit because of the exigency of the pandemic, so I’d think at this point we have lots more individuals in the test pool than for a normal approval process)

        1. Yes, just more time has to pass to properly assess long term effects. Seems like vaccine authorizations under normal circumstances take a few years. Some of that is red tape of course.

          1. The short-term effects have been horrifying, including thousands of deaths. Spend 30 minutes with the adverse effects database and you’ll know what I mean.

            1. Why don’t you give everyone a URL and we can assess your truthfulness for ourselves.

            2. The adverse effects database is a record of any reported health condition that occurred after vaccine administration. It doesn’t include analysis of whether that health condition is likely to be linked, and it doesn’t compare with the background rate. Some portion of people, for example, experience a stroke on any given day. The fact that some people have experienced a stroke in the days or weeks following vaccination doesn’t mean that they experienced a stroke *due to* vaccination- you only know that if the rate is higher than the background rate.

            3. Brophy,
              You mean VAERS? https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vaers.html

              By design that allows anyone to enter a reaction, including entirely fake data. (As in, the “patient” may never have existed.) It is intended to be over inclusive so as to not miss anything. That’s perfect when there is no political controversy because few are motivated to enter bogus data.

              It is known that at least some Covid vaccine reaction data is fake. This includes someone who reported being turned into a zombie and an infant death in Virginia before any children were vaccinated. Occasionally fake data are removed, but there is potential for lots in there to merely be utterly, totally, completely fake. Not just “not linked to vaccine”, totally fake.

              The CDC normally does not have a process for removal. I’ve heard sometime some is removed. But mostly, the design is intended as a “first alert”. After somethijg shows up they monitor controlled populations. Those “thousands” of post-vax deaths aren’t happening.

        2. In any clinical trial, those being tested must met certain preconditions to be included in the test data. While in principle those preconditions can be shown to be satisfied post vaccination, In the overwhelming fraction of the inoculations they are not. Hence those patients are not part of a formal phase 3 trial for FDA approval

        3. One thing that’s missing is knowing how long protection lasts. A normal full approval cycle documenting safety and effectiveness would make sure it was effective for more than a few months, if I understand right.

          The preliminary hints are all positive but we simply don’t know that part of the picture yet.

          1. I thought of that, but am not sure it is applicable.

            Suppose vaccineA stops covid but 100% of the people who get it die of terminal warts in 3 years. You wouldn’t use that vaccine even in the face of a pandemic.

            But if vaccineB stops covid, has no long term effects, but only for 12 months, you would still want to widely deploy it in the face of a pandemic. You’d keep looking for a vaccineC with a longer effective period, but the short period of protection isn’t an argument against using vaccineB while you search for vaccineB.

        4. Absaroka, fairly large classes were excluded from the initial clinical trials, including folks with various kinds of immune system compromise. There are lots of different kinds of immune system disorders. I assume you would have a hard time at this point, without further study, saying, for instance (pure random words, not implying any truth) that someone with lupus is at risk with the vaccine, but someone taking a biologic medication for psoriatic arthritis is okay.

    2. Have any of the the COVID 19 vaccine’s been approved by the FDA?

      Yes. All of them have. Via EUAs.

  7. After reading this suit it was clear it didn’t have a chance. It was a real mess, probably more meant to get publicity than win.

    Seems a little odd to me that you can make taking an experimental vaccine a requirement of employment, but I guess it’s all voluntary association. From a practical standpoint I’d at least make an exception for those who have recovered from COVID since we now have numerous studies showing efficacy against reinfection equivalent to mRNA vaccines (better actually since we have data for further back from natural infection).

    Will be interesting to see if the TX legislature takes any steps here, though I am sure they would exclude health care providers anyway.

    1. I think the legislature’s biennial session just ended, so in order to take any action on anything, Abbott would have to call them to special session.

      Abbott has previously expressed the intent to call them back into session to shit on voting rights, but it’s not clear the the Dems would bother to show up.

      1. Oh my goodness. Hopefully TX won’t reduce its early voting window as low as New York state!

        1. I don’t care about it that much, but there’s no indication there was any problem with voting down here at all in any recent election. Not sure why Republicans hair is on fire to change it, although the most likely reason is not one that reflects well on them.

        2. New York State isn’t some exemplar in democracy.

          Come on, think it through. Our political system is designed to serve Democrats, favoring corrupt insiders over more progressive outsiders and Republicans. It does the exact same thing in New York that they’re trying to accomplish in Texas.

          This is why we need uniform standards at the federal level. We can cut a lot of this nonsense out, and maybe make Republicans viable in the northeast again.

          Of course, that’s the trade off, isn’t it? Republicans are willing to cede the electorally weakening northeast in favor of cementing power in the south an Midwest. No one gets democracy!

    2. “showing efficacy against reinfection equivalent to mRNA vaccines”
      not so until the covid recovered patient gets at least one shot. Then the level of anti-bodies is very slightly higher that in covid naive patients with 2 shots.

      1. Yeahnope. I’ve seen studies showing that Covid recovered people who get one shot end up with higher antibody levels than Covid naive patients who get two shots, that much is true.

        Those studies rather conspicuously did NOT look at their anti-body levels PRIOR to that shot. And so could not say that those levels were inadequate prior to that shot.

        Other studies that compared reinfection rates in people who’ve had Covid to infection rates in those who’ve been vaccinated have shown no difference.

        The problem is, that elevated anti-body level in Covid survivors who get the shot comes with an elevated adverse reaction rate, too. You’d kind of expect that, when you go and vaccinate somebody who is, effectively, already vaccinated.

        1. Brett,
          I have sent you this recent reference before:
          R. R. Goel et al., Sci. Immunol. 10.1126/sciimmunol.abi6950 (2021).
          “Distinct antibody and memory B cell responses in SARS-CoV-2 naïve and recovered individuals following mRNA vaccination,”
          This manuscript does ” look at their anti-body levels PRIOR to that shot” contrary to your objection.

          1. Are you sure that’s the same one you linked to before?

            1. Yes I am; it is in the same folder of manuscripts that I have been using in my research

        2. Brett,
          I’d also comment that the opinion in the Goel et al. paper is shared by the overwhelming majority of immunologists.
          That does not make it true, but it does make getting one shot a product action.

          1. That should have read “prudent” action.

    3. This seems like a case of legitimate interest by the hospital in requiring its employees to be healthy and non-contagious, and requiring a vaccination is the best way to do that.

      Right now, COVID-19 is a major disease. In 20 years, it probably won’t be, and at that time I think think requirement would no longer be reasonable – the same way it would be unreasonable to require all hospital employees to receive a smallpox vaccine shot.

      I agree with you about the already-infected employees, though. It’s something that can be verified, as well, so it seems like a very low-risk exception to provide.

    4. Oh, that’s nuanced.

      Vaccination after infection dramatically increases antibody levels but there isn’t a big measured difference in risk reduction EXCEPT:

      Those high antibody levels are a safety margin against the next variant.

  8. catch -22

    doesnt the americans with disabilities act prevent or limit a hospital or other health care provider from terminating or removing an employee infected with HIV who provides direct care to patients.

    1. HIV is not easy to spread and hospitals take plenty of precautions to prevent the spread of blood born pathogens. Covid is very easy to spread.

      1. While more easily spread, covid is also far less deadly. Infection Fatality rate much higher.

        1. Irrelevant given how hard it is to spread HIV when you take basic precautions. 600k dead Americans squashed the argument that covid is not that deadly and thus not that much of a concern.

      2. Covid is very hard to spread. Even if someone in your household gets Covid, you’re unlikely to catch it unless that person is your spouse and you sleep in the same bed with her.

        1. “Covid is very hard to spread. ”
          More lies. Tell that to the 34 million Americans who got Covid with symptoms or tell it to the 175 million who and been infected & with symptoms around the world.
          You must have studied with the Orange Clown

        2. That is simply a really dumb lie, that you can not support with data.

  9. This ruling may have precedent behind it but it is outrageous. And it’s not “false” that the “vaccine” is experimental and dangerous (at least compared to getting Covid-19), though calling it a vaccine is false, I suppose.

    1. Since it’s still basically in testing I suppose it’s not totally reasonable to call the vaccine experimental, but there’s zero evidence that’s it’s dangerous.

      1. Isn’t that kinda what testing is for? Especially, the mRNA vaccines? It’s way too early to asses long term effects on a new mechanism of vaccine delivery without calling it experimental. Note: I did opt to receive the Moderna vaccine (in case anyone has the temerity to accuse me of being anti-vax – I just don’t believe that anything should be forced upon anyone’s body).

        1. It is your choice to opt out, but it is your employer’s choice to fire you (consistent with labor contract provisions)

          1. Subject to union rules — and this is a union organizer’s wet dream…

            1. less than 2000 loons out of a workforce of over 20,000 does not make for a dream union,

              1. Unless the 19,000 think that the 2000 weren’t treated fairly on this — and fear that *they* might not be treated fairly on something else in the future.

            2. What a fool you are Ed,
              I did NOT say union rules. Your gross and dishonest distorion

              Labor contracts are binding agreements that cannot be changed unilaterally.
              The only wet dream is you thinking that the Orange Clown won the election.

        2. Oops, I meant not totally unreasonable. We agree.

      2. Oh, come on. Depends on your threshold for calling something “dangerous”; It’s not as safe as a shot of sterile saline, after all.

        Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 14–23, 2020

        Admittedly, 11.1 cases of anaphylactic shock per million doses isn’t a phenomenally high danger level. It’s not perfect safety, either.

        1. There is no perfect safety.
          My son takes a medication with 7 black box warnings. He must be carefully monitored.
          One is always balancing risks.

        2. Brett,
          the cause of anaphylactic shock was quickly identified as extreme sensitivity to polyethyleene glycol. Now that sensitivity is a standard question prior to vaccination with Pfizer or Moderna.

          I dare guess that sensitivity is not as common as sensitivity to peanut butter… but that is just a guess.

      3. There’s tons of evidence that it’s dangerous in the adverse events database. Thousands of people have died and many thousands more have been injured. These are all short-term effects and we don’t know how bad the medium and long-term effects will be. Anyone who takes a Covid vaccine is a reckless guinea pig.

        1. Brophy,
          You have already shown yourself to be a liar and not worth listening to.
          But you’re free to decline the vaccine and contract the disease.

        2. The claims in the database are unsupported claims, and those are never considered evidence.

    2. JD,
      1) It is a vaccine as defined by the medical, pharma, and regulatory communities.
      2) the statement that the vaccine is dangerous as compared with COVID-19 is preposterous in the face of 3.8 million deaths world wide

    3. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2035389

      That’s the report of the conclusion of the final experiments. The outside advisory panel was satisfied.

  10. It is not illegal to take the COVID vaccine … but it is illegal to inject someone who is unwilling with it. That is generally considered assault.

    The arguments against the hospital workers seem, at best, contrived. To say that the Nuremberg code does not apply because it is a private institution means that my private company can now experiment on human subjects without worrying about any of the standard protections?

    So now … instead of doing trials in volunteer subjects … how about I just hire a bunch of employees and make trial participation a condition of employment. Much easier!

    1. No one forces anyone AtR. The employee does not force the empler to keep him/her on the payroll. See how that works.

      1. @Don … It has long been accepted that significant payment is a form of coercion, especially to the poor. This is why IRBs significantly limit the amount of reimbursement that may be given trial participants.

        1. Yeah, and imo those limits are stupid and ought to be scrapped.

          I thought this was a libertarian magazine.

        2. The employee is NOT a trial participant. Acting in a manner consistent with maintaining a safe workplace is a condition of employment. This is no different than requiring construction workers to wear hard hats

          1. @Don. You’d have to demonstrate that (i) this behavior produces a safer workplace, and (ii) this is a reasonable safety request.

            Right now, the COVID vaccines are still in Phase III *trials* – all participants are required access to an informed consent document clarifying that their participation is voluntary and that there are number of known and unknown risks associated with the vaccines.

            Under your theory, an employer could demand any manner of invasive and potentially permanent behavior that could be justified by “safety”. If just one employer does this, you might be able to switch jobs. If most employers do this, your choice is to consent or go hungry.

            1. AtR,
              I don’t have to demonstrate anything to you.
              Obviously you have never been legally and morally responsible for a large number of workers.
              The overwhelming opinion of public health officials is that such measures produce a safer work place. As an employer that is all that I need to point to to show that I am taking prudent action.

              1. @Don – You’ll have to demonstrate this to the court when your workers sue you. Good luck!

                1. I am sure you are the loser. As we just saw the plaintiff lost.

                  If you manage your business out of constant fear of litigation you will run your business poorly. The hospital can easily document every one of its actions, demonstrate that they do not discriminate against any protected class, show that they satisfy the standard of due care and the plaintiff is a loser.

                  1. show that they satisfy the standard of due care

                    Compulsory vaccination with a hot-off-the-press substance only authorized for emergency use is not a generally recognized standard of due care, O pompous one. I’ll take a cite to the contrary.

                    1. Brian,
                      Your comment is irrelevant and worthless. If you have a problem with the vaccine rules take it up with Joe Biden.
                      Bye.

                    2. Your comment is irrelevant and worthless.

                      Yes, I could see how you would view a request to substantiate your high-sounding bullshit as being somewhat inconvenient. Sorry about that.

                      If you have a problem with the vaccine rules take it up with Joe Biden.

                      Another rejoinder of the truly thought-free flavor I’ve come to expect from you. “Joe Biden” has no “vaccine rules,” they would not constitute a “standard of due care” even if they did, and none were under discussion in this thread in any event.

                      Maybe you should go back to cutting and pasting out of context nonsense and the same 2-3 studies over and over again trying to sound smart. At least that has the chance of fooling others into thinking you have the least clue what you’re talking about.

                    3. Brina,
                      You are rude, insulting, ignorant and and dishonest.
                      Being vaccinated against COVID. has noting to do with standard of care.
                      Not worth any more of my time.

                    4. Being vaccinated against COVID. has noting to do with standard of care.

                      You’re the one who brought up standard of care in the midst of a discussion about compulsory COVID vaccination, chucklehead. It’s literally three posts upstream.

                      If you spewed a bit less and thought a bit more, maybe you wouldn’t embarrass yourself quite as often.

                2. BTW,
                  AtR, you don’t need luck when you practice sound management and always assume that every decision will have to be “explained to a judge.”

            2. Under your theory, an employer could demand any manner of invasive and potentially permanent behavior that could be justified by “safety”. If just one employer does this, you might be able to switch jobs. If most employers do this, your choice is to consent or go hungry.

              As long as the demand is to do something that’s legal, the employer does not need to justify it at all. That’s how employment at will works.

      2. Don is right — there already was a national shortage of health professionals, along with a lot of career burnout.

        Why not encourage some of your best and hardest-to-replace employees to quit. What could possibly go wrong with that?

        1. Just because hospital workers are overworked, that does not confer on them the right to determine health and safety conditions in hospitals.
          Your objection is noted and is merely a propaganda point.

        2. ” Why not encourage some of your best and hardest-to-replace employees to quit. ”

          I doubt this nurse is an employee most hospitals would regret to lose.

      3. Don, how about a mandatory semen injection?

        How is that different?

        It’s been documented that the male hormones are in the woman’s bloodstream less than an hour later, and the hospital wishes to have that to ensure better patient care.

        1. How is that different?
          If you don’t know that, you’re not smart enough to understand an explanation.
          Pathetic.

    2. The judge is wrong that the Nuremberg code only applies to governments, but the Nuremberg code is not law anyhow. But the vaccines are out of experimental stage, getting an FDA EUA requires it. There is a difference between experimental and not fully approved.

      1. The trials are still ongoing. They’re still experimental.

    3. “make trial participation a condition of employment.”
      There is NO trial taking place. That argument lost once and will lose again and again

  11. Folks may be interested in two recent papers:
    “The specter of Manaus: the risks of a rapid return to pre-pandemic
    conditions after COVID-19 vaccine rollout,” medRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.05.14.21257250
    and
    “Face masks effectively limit the probability of SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” Y. Cheng et al., Science 10.1126/science.abg6296 (2021).

    1. The science of “Face masks effectively limit the probability of SARS-CoV-2 transmission” starts with this wonderful bit:

      Assuming that every inhaled single virus (virion) has the same chance to infect a person

      and proceeds to similarly assume that viral particles are independent and evenly distributed in space. It also conflates the effects of respiratory etiquette and mask filtering (and cites studies that do the same).

      All in all, it’s a paper about a bad model based on bad assumptions that might be completely true for the assumptions they give, but has no real-world applicability.

      The re-infection paper is more interesting, but let’s just say that I find their conclusion that the P.1 variant will infect 80% of the US population less than two months (50 days!) after normal behaviors resume to be… suspect.

      1. Toranth,
        Did you actually study the model in the Appendix? I did not, and so I make not claim about the scientific strength of the paper. I just found it reported yesterday and found it interesting.

        You object to “Assuming that every inhaled single virus (virion) has the same chance to infect a person.”
        There is no other neutral assumption, no scientific way to assign an a priori probability distribution unless you make an a priori assumption about the distribution of variants in the aerosols.

        “also conflates the effects of respiratory etiquette and mask filtering”
        that is a feature not a bug. The manuscript is not about the individual advantages of the several non-pharma actions, but about the utility of the suit of non-pharma actions versus relying solely on vaccines.

        As for the reinfection paper, the phenomenon happened once. Could it happen again as new variants emerge? We don’t know. Sure, be suspicious. The point is not to convince us but to make us cautious.

        1. I did read the paper, and focused on the model since that’s the area I know best. My problem is not with what they do with the model, it’s the assumptions that go into it.
          What they’ve done is the equivalent of the jokes about physics – “First, assume all cows are perfect spheres on a friction-less surface…” Within the limits of those assumptions, it looks like the model is consistent. But since infection rates do not treat viral particle exposure as independent events – something that is true of most diseases, and was verified as true for COVID-19 as well as far back as spring 2020 – and viral particles are not evenly spread through a space at equal densities, their model fails in application to the real world.
          This isn’t a case of “no previous data”, this looks like a case of them choosing to simplify the problem because doing it accurately is hard, and just simplifying it too far.

          As for respiratory etiquette vs masks, again, the two are not the same, and treating them as one category is deceptive. Non-N95 masks provide no benefit that respiratory etiquette doesn’t. Which means that by conflating the two, then concluding that masks help – which is explicitly the conclusion reached – is incorrect.
          It’s like claiming that “kicking cats or vaccines” prevents infection by COVID-19, therefore everyone should kick cats.
          In places with poor respiratory etiquette – some nations in Eastern Asia, for example – the surgical masks can serve a purpose. But not in other societies.

          The immediate problem I see with the reinfection paper is that 80% of the US population is over 250 million people, even if you exclude children. Worldwide, to date, there are only 175 million cases after more than a year.
          I simply do not see how a mere two months could re-infect that many people, especially assuming that 50% of people have been given a 70% effective vaccine.
          Trying to promote caution is fine, but screaming “The sky is falling! Millions will die in just two months!” is neither believable nor helpful in trying to produce rational caution.

          1. Thank you for a thoughtful reply.
            I have not had time to scrutinize the model as I had said. Bu I will look at the model with your cautions in mind.

            Certainly the distribution of viral particles is not uniform. That is a simplifying assumption. How much does it distort the model? I don’t know.
            The manuscript. “A guideline to limit indoor airborne transmission of COVID-19,” Martin Z. Bazanta,b,1 and John W. M. Bushb has tried to address that.

            There have been other experimental studies of the dispersal of aerosol from point sources over the past year. We’d have to compare with those.

            As for the reinfections dues to other variants, a measure of the daily CFR in the US has showed an increase for ~2% to 3% in the past three months even while the infection rate is falling.

            I agree with you that the rhetoric of the manuscript is more alarmist than is warranted, but I also try to examine the most relevant literature regularly. It will be interesting to see how this paper fares under peer review.

            Again, thank you for a specific and thoughtful answer to my post.

    2. From the “risks of rapid return” paper:
      “However, viral variants with reduced susceptibility to vaccinal and natural immunity threaten the utility of vaccines, particularly in scenarios where a return to pre-pandemic conditions occurs before the suppression of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.”

      I’ll be convinced when they actually show us a varient that is not suppressed by the vaccine.

      It’s certainly debatable, but not settled, whether the lockdowns were worse than the disease, but a perpetual lockdown for a speculative variant goes way too far.

      1. Kazinsinski,

        The manuscript answers your question.
        “There are five variants of concern as defined by the
        CDC present at appreciable frequencies in the United States at present: B.1.427 and B.1.429 with a transmissibility 20% greater than ancestral Wuhan strain (Wuhan-Hu-1, referred to here as “WT”); B.1.1.7 (the “United Kingdom” variant), with a transmissibility ~60% higher than wild type10 and vaccine efficacy reduction of ~10% against the Pfizer vaccine30; B.1.351 (the “South African” variant), with a transmissibility ~50% higher than WT31 and vaccine efficacy reduction of ~25% against the Pfizer vaccine30; and P.1 (the “Brazilian” variant), with a transmissibility ~100% higher than WT32 and a ~32% reduction of immunity induced by WT infection32. As of 4/10/2021, B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P1 constitute ~60%, 1% and 3.7% of all US infections33 .”

        I would not consider a 30% reduction in efficacy small.

        1. But a 30% loss of efficacy would put it right in the range of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Plus the data on the Pfizer vaccine has shown while it’s ‘only’ 95% effective on preventing covid, it’s about 100% effective preventing severe cases.

          So I’m not buying into extending the lockdowns until we see not only more cases among the vaccinated, which really is just more positive PCR tests, but more hospitalizations and fatalities accompanying the infections.

      2. Kazinski,
        For a discussion of a cost-benefit analysis of COVID-19 lockdown, you might start with this paper”
        https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2021.625778/full

        Again, no endorsement of the content except that it is thoughtful and worth considering

  12. Although her claims fail as a matter of law, it is also necessary to clarify that Bridges has not been coerced. Bridges says that she is being forced to be injected with a vaccine or be fired. This is not coercion.

    Of course she’s being coerced ! Do this or you’ll be fired is Coercion 101. The question is whether it is legally permitted coercion, and the judge seems to think it is. But adding this lunatic aside throws the judge’s powers of reasoning, and command of English, into question.

    A “clarification” too far, methinks.

    1. That is an odd and unnecessary aside. I suppose you could argue that she isn’t being forced to get the vaccine, but she is certainly being coerced, in the non-legal sense of the word.

      1. AWD,
        In my neighborhood she was made an offer that she couldn’t refuse.

      2. Okay, but a judge is going to be using a word in its legal sense, not its non-legal one.

    2. As noted in my main comment below, the judge is treating as obvious things that in fact require explanation. He should have done the work to explain thjngs more clearly.

      I think this is especially true in cases that arouse heavy public controversy, like this one. The judge is doing the hospital and its position no favors by summarily laughing off the plaintiff in a manner that could lead her side to claim she was treated unfairly and hence to yet more controversy and public unrest.

    3. In other parts of employment law the threat of losing your job is not considered coercion. For example your boss can say that you either sign a binding arbitration agreement or be fired and that is ok. So this ruling is consistent with prior law.

      1. I’m not arguing with the legal ruling, I’m arguing that he is lecturing her on the meaning of “coercion” when he appears to be ignorant of it himself.

        “Although her claims fail as a matter of law, it is also necessary to clarify that Bridges has not been coerced”

        does not look to me to be a comment about “coercion” in some special legal sense, apart from the ordinary English sense. Why begin with “although her claims fail as a matter of law” if you’re then going to go and make a point about….the law.

      2. That’s true but irrelevant. She wasn’t invoking employment law. She was invoking clinical trial law. Totally different definitions of what constitutes coercion.

        The critical question for the judge was whether clinical trial law applied in this context. That’s the only context in which the coercion inquiry would be relevent. If clinical trial law didn’t apply, the coercion concept didn’t matter.

        Similarly, if someone protests a traffic stop by claiming the protection of the Geneva Convention, you ask things like whether there’s a war and whether they are combatants. That determines whether the Geneva Convention applies. While traffic law might ordinarily be relevant to a traffic stop, it isn’t relevant to the specific claim.

        This is similar.

      3. And yet, sometimes the threat of losing your job is considered coercion. A Texan example is Mitchell v. C.C. Sanitation Co. After a collision involving a truck operated by another company Mitchell’s employer and the other firm negotiated a settlement conditioned on Mitchell signing a release. The court found that convincing him to sign by threatening his job could be unlawful coercion, even though employees are terminable at will in Texas.

        1. That’s about coercion in a contractual context, used to determine whether a contract is voidable, rather than in the sense of whether a termination is invalid.

  13. I think the outcome is correct, but I think the judge needed to do a little more work to get there.

    I think Bridge’s best argument was her argument that the hospital was required to be in a clinical trial, based on the idea that drugs which are not regularly approved are by definition under trial, and that any use of them is part of the trial.

    The judge characterized this as a “misrepresentation of the facts.” I don’t think this was correct.

    A clinical trial is a federal legal term, a term of law, not fact. The judge here needed to define a clinical trial and then, based on that definition, determine whether the circumstances come under the definition of clinical trial or not, and explain why they don’t.

    He should not have treated her claim that she was being forced into a clinical trial as a factual claim, let alone an obvious or frivolous one.

    If her claim had been accurate, she would might have won, as the hospital likely can’t fire her for not entering a clinical trial.

  14. Somewhere above is a comment that “[a]cting in a manner consistent with maintaining a safe workplace is a condition of employment. This is no different than requiring construction workers to wear hard hats.”

    But can a construction worker be required, as a condition of employment, to wear her hard hat at all times of the day and night, both at the workplace and outside of the workplace? Does the employer’s payment to the employee control the totality of behavior outside of the workplace?

    The better metaphor might compare vaccination to smoking, to eating, or to sexual activity. Can an employer require an employee to refrain from smoking both at the workplace and in all other settings? Can an employer require an employee to refrain from eating certain “unhealthy” foods both at the workplace and in all other settings? Can an employer require conformance to outside-the-workplace sexual behavior rules which provably reduce the jobsite risk of bloodborne pathogen spread?

    Leaving that aside, the targeted employer is unique in that it can administer vaccinations and therefore can satisfy its own prurient curiosity in proof of vaccination. Since there is no “official” record of adult vaccination (that is, one can simply download/print a PDF vaccination record card and fill it in), how will a non-hospital employer actually distinguish the CoVaxed from the non-CoVaxed? Given the numbers tracked by the Washington Post and other “trusted news sources,” those who also track vaccine distribution are keenly aware that millions of Americans now wrongly (perhaps purposefully, perhaps otherwise) claim to be fully CoVaxed [and yet “case counts” continue to decline]. We shouldn’t discount the sense of public wellness achieved by such placebos as vaccines for the naturally immune and masks for the asymptomatic: placebos work far better than do tests for non-prevalent diseases!!

    Counterproductive trade-offs, like placebos, also promote a silly sense of well-being. For example, [an unelected subset of] we have decided to trade future potential deaths due to increased greenhouse gas emissions (resulting from increased drive-thru usage, for example) for potential lives saved by less-gas-producing in-restaurant dining. [Likewise, we have decided to trade reduced indoor air quality (leading to an increased in CoViD deaths) for marginal energy savings (resulting from outdoor air damper closures accomplished in violation of building codes).] What makes an employer’s building code violation any less reprehensible than the employee’s vaccine “violation”?

    1. “Can an employer require an employee to refrain from smoking both at the workplace and in all other settings? Can an employer require an employee to refrain from eating certain “unhealthy” foods both at the workplace and in all other settings? Can an employer require conformance to outside-the-workplace sexual behavior rules which provably reduce the jobsite risk of bloodborne pathogen spread?”

      Yes, they can do all of these things. If your employer happens to be say the Mormon church they can go even further with this.

      They can also pay you less. The reason hey don’t and don’t have these rules as nothing to do with any law saying so and everything to do with market based policies. Employers do not regulate what their employees eat because doing so will not benefit the company in any way and cause dissatisfaction among employees, which is bad for business.

      They certainly can. WeWork tried to force all of its employees to eat vegan on company premises. It was an unmitigated disaster of a policy.

      I love all the conservatives presenting a parade of horrible when the market already corrects for them, which is why conservatives, apparently until a few months ago, openly called for these rules where they do exist to be weakened!

      No one is forcing you to work for the Mormon church. No one is forcing these nurses to work for that particular hospital. They have the right to quit. Look around, this isn’t a difficult economy to get jobs. People are hiring anyone with a pulse.

    2. But can a construction worker be required, as a condition of employment, to wear her hard hat at all times of the day and night, both at the workplace and outside of the workplace? Does the employer’s payment to the employee control the totality of behavior outside of the workplace?

      In some states, no. Some states have laws protecting employees from being fired based on their legal off-the-job behavior. Texas is not one of those states.

      Leaving that aside, the targeted employer is unique in that it can administer vaccinations and therefore can satisfy its own prurient curiosity in proof of vaccination. Since there is no “official” record of adult vaccination (that is, one can simply download/print a PDF vaccination record card and fill it in), how will a non-hospital employer actually distinguish the CoVaxed from the non-CoVaxed?

      Well, it could ask the employees to prove it. Most employers would not; they will ask their employees to confirm that they are vaccinated. If the employees lie, they will be fired if caught.

  15. “But can a construction worker be required, as a condition of employment, to wear her hard hat at all times of the day and night,”

    Almost certainly not, but then you know that I meant at the worksite in which case the answer is a resounding yes.
    Having answered that, employers have been enforcing no smoking policies even outside of work hours.

    “therefore can satisfy its own prurient curiosity in proof of vaccination.”
    Why the prejudicial language? And if the worker does not provide proff of vaccination, how exactly will the hospital find out consisten with HiPAA.

    In the end, this is a simple case. You want to work here, you follow the conditions of employment consistent with your union contract.

    1. Can your employer require you to donate a kidney to the CEO as a condition of employment? How about donating blood/sperm/eggs to your co-workers?

      I can’t believe that even an ardent libertarian would think that there are no bounds to what an employer can demand of employees.

      1. “Can your employer require you to donate a kidney to the CEO as a condition of employment? How about donating blood/sperm/eggs to your co-workers?”

        No, because that has nothing to do with employment. This does. These are hospital workers. Patents at the hospital have probably have covid. Its a reasonable request to make.

        1. Well … let’s say a fellow employee needs your blood plasma in order to get better and return to work more quickly. What if your employer believes in the efficacy of convalescent blood plasma – can he require all employees who have had COVID to donate blood to an office pool (and for all employees who have not had the disease to accept the blood), all as a condition of employment?

      2. > I can’t believe that even an ardent libertarian would think that there are no bounds to what an employer can demand of employees.

        Then you don’t understand libertarians. Libertarians are the ones who want the return of the company store and private security forces that went through company camps machine gunning tents of people who only had scrip for the company store.

        1. And what non-libertarians tend not to understand is, we already have the company store, and company town. The company just happens to be the government.

      3. I can’t believe that even an ardent libertarian would think that there are no bounds to what an employer can demand of employees.

        An ardent libertarian knows that it is a two-sided contract. Employers cannot “demand” these things; it can just condition employment on them. The employee can say to the CEO, “Donate your kidney to me or I quit,” and the CEO can say the reverse.

    2. When a Dark Ages King was weak, he would buy the loyalty of Barons who in turn would control the peasants: when a modern republican government is weak, it permits the establishment of employment monopolies which in turn control the peasants.

      Judicial rulings like the one being discussed have the effect of creating a feudal system. Loyalty, purchased or unpurchased, is the key. Stay loyal and keep the wealth: fail and your income disappears. See https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/domesday/

      1. I… don’t think you know what the word ‘monopoly’ means.

  16. “Bridges dedicates the bulk of her pleadings to arguing that the currently, available COVID-19 vaccines are experimental and dangerous. This claim is false”

    That would depend how one defines “experimental” and “dangerous” and perhaps “false”. Quite a subjective exercise given the largely unknown, but just another day in judicial lawmaking.

    As a matter of policy the decision makes sense. As a matter of law, the important thing would not be the precise policy; only that subjective lawmaking decisions are made in a republican manner by state and local governments.

    1. “just another day in judicial lawmaking. ”
      That is what you always say when you lose.

      1. It has the distinction of being correct in most cases.

      2. Don Nico – I agree with the decision. Try to read better.

  17. Somehow it’s coercion to threaten to fire a woman for not performing a sex act lest she be terminated, but injecting something into the arm that might cause blod clots or heart inflammation, or the most VAERS and Yellow Card entries in recorded history, well that’s totally fine. It doesn’t make sense. If you can force an injection why can’t you force a kiss? This judge is a travesty.

    1. Those statistics are not meaningful. I never had any follow-up from the CDC for decades of flu shots — but I got daily, then weekly, and then less-often follow-up questionnaires from the CDC for my covid shots. With that much more attention, of course they are going to have more VAERS entries.

  18. When Bridges talked about coercion, she was talking about what coercion means in clinical trial law. Based on infamous incidents like Nazi medical experiments and the Tuskegee Syphillis Study, it’s illegal to conduct medical experiments on people withiut obtaining their informed consent, and for this purpose, firing them would indeed constitute coercion.

    The relevant question was whether, in requiring its employees to use a vaccine which had received emergency authorization but not full approval, the hospital was conducting a medical experiment.

    I think the judge was right that the hospital wasn’t. But I think this was less obvious than the judge seemed to think, and the judge needed to spend more time and explain why mote clearly.

    The concept of coercion is pretty much irrelevant to employment law, where asking people to do something for pay is never in of itself considered coercion.

  19. The concept of coercion is pretty much irrelevant to employment law, where asking people to do something for pay is never in of itself considered coercion.

    Is that so ? Get down on your knees, honey, if you want to keep your job.

    1. But as Professor Volokh said, that’s discrimination, not termination, and Bridges wasn’t claiming discrimination here.

      Several circuits have held that a bisexual harasser is immune from liability because he harasses indiscriminately. This here too it is only discriminatiry coercion, not coercion itself, that is illegal.

      1. How about – Boss needs a kidney – her dialysis time is hurting revenue. $5k bonus for anyone willing to donate a kidney.

        1. That doesn’t sound like coercion to me – it’s an offer of a new deal. Whereas divvi up a kidney or you’re fired is coercion.

  20. “She also says that the injection requirement is invalid because it violates the Nuremberg Code. . . . ”

    Her lawyers should be fired as well.

    This is garbage.

  21. Doesn’t this argument prove too much? The opinion says it doesn’t matter that the vaccine is not dangerous. I don’t buy that. Suppose the employer suddenly imposed new requirements that were dangerous, like requiring all employees to start smoking a pack a day or to commute to work by skydiving down to the building. Somehow I think a reason would be found to prevent such a requirement. I think the hospital’s vaccination requirement is a good idea, but that’s strongly connected to the hospital’s mission and the fact that the vaccine has gone through at least some testing.

    1. If you are a hot shot smoke jumper then parachuting into work would be a requirement. Hard to say you want to fight fires in the backcountry but not to parachute as its too dangerous.

      1. True, but it’s clearly connected to the job. The opinion seems to be saying that it’s fine for employers to impose arbitrary new risky activities regardless of their connection to the job.

        1. A COVID vaccination has a crystal clear connection to working in a hospital job in close proximity to others some of whom are immuncompromised or otherwise at high risk of death or disability from an infection.

          Or is your point that the opinion doesn’t limit itself to that, and that Texas employment law as set forth in the opinion allows employers to be jerks?

  22. Employer have pretty broad discretion in setting work requirements and most thing they are prohibited from requiring are well listed, like personal favors or kickbacks. Most jobs will involve some risk and the level of risk varies. But it is unlikely you could make the case that the vaccination is greater than other risks at your job. If you drive a car as part of work or operate machinery, your risk may be greater than getting the vaccination.

    1. @Moderation4ever – Risk isn’t uniformly distributed (nor is benefit). If you are over 90, have auto-immune disorders, or already had COVID, your risk and benefit from vaccination is much different from if you’re 18 and in excellent health. If you have a long history or car accidents, your risk from driving to work is very different from someone with a spotless record.

      I’d be surprised if the law instituted a one-size-fits-all approach to this complicated problem.

      1. The question is not just personal risk but who but do you pose a risk to. Employers can mitigate for risks to their customers and to there employees. Yes the 18 year old might be at pretty low risk, but the customers and fellow employees can be at much higher risk. As for other risks, you may have a perfect accident free record, but what if the idiot who hits your care has had three accident in the last year.

      2. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from being vaccinated, the ADA would come into play. That was not the claim being made by the plaintiffs here, though.

  23. “Bridges has again misconstrued this provision, and she has now also misrepresented the facts. The hospital’s employees are not participants in a human trial.”

    This is perverse. There is no organized, official trial. But there certainly is, in fact, a trial going on. mRNA vaccines are new to science. All we know of their safety is what we can see to date. We have NO idea what the long-term risks of these vaccines are. (Note – I’ve had the Pfizer vaccine. I took it to continue volunteer at a food pantry). To say that there are no risks denies reason.
    If you are interested in this matter, please go to Youtube and watch videos by Bret Weinstein. He will set you clear on this matter. He’s the guy who also has been pushing the lab leak hypothesis for over a year – and now people are coming around.

    1. I work hard to keep an open mind.

      There are two things I have not found that would make worries about long term effects plausible.

      One is a history of delayed bad effects from other vaccines, effects that show up after the first two months. If I find one, then that’s a scintilla of plausibility that other vaccines might have a long term problem.

      The other would be a proposed, even speculative, mechanism by which the mRNA vaccines could have any effect after the mRNA is gone, except of course for the immune response which is the whole point.

    2. No. Do not go to YouTube and watch videos. If you are a SME, you do not need to do so. If you are not, you will ‘learn’ only what you already wanted to be true.

  24. The converse is worth considering.
    Suppose the Hospital said to all current and prospective employees,
    “If you have had the jab then you can no longer work here. If you have not had the jab and subsequently get the jab, you no longer will work here.”
    Lawsuit by currently or wanna be vaxed.
    Key words: coercion, health, safety, risk, benefit, unsafe work environment, osha, efficacy, experimental, …..
    Opinion:
    ?

    1. My very limited understanding of Texas employment law is that it would be legal for an employer to fire any employee who got themselves vaccinated.

      That’s not what I think the law *should be*, but my understanding is that “at will” implies an employee can be fired for just about anything, unless they belong to a union or have some other employment contract that delineates what circumstances will result in termination.

      There’s that private school in Miami that is refusing to hire teachers who have been vaccinated – it’s Florida, not Texas and there’s no litigation that I’m aware of, so it may not be the best real-world example.

      1. Forgot to mention exceptions for members of protected classes, and some other exceptions e.g. refusing to perform an illegal act. And probably some other exceptions that I’m not aware of.

        1. I don’t know what Texas Law that your are referring to.

          As relates to an employment contract, that was my first thought. The contract would or would not confer protections to Vax or UnVax employees depending upon.

          But this was not discussed in this case.

          Also not discussed, in depth, was a risk/benefit analysis of the vax. That is because it was unnecessary to the decision which essentially was based upon the “at will” status of employees.

          Shedding is perhaps an issue. This is a reason to perhaps ban, the vaxed from hospitals – true or not true (shedding is a threat?), it is irrelevant to the inquiry if you assume “at will” employment is the applicable law.

          1. “I don’t what Texas Law that your are referring t

            Neither do I. My comment was based on the lack of any law that would make terminating an employee for getting a vaccine illegal.

            Maybe there is one. I don’t know enough about Texas employment law to say one way or the other. I presume that there isn’t but I may be wrong about that.

            ___________

            “Shedding” is not an issue. That’s anti-vax tin-foil-hat territory. But you’re right that it’s irrelevant.

    2. Simplified, an employer may not take adverse action against an employee who does an action to protect their health and safety. To require no vaccines is to put their workers at risk and that is not allowed.

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