The three COVID-19 vaccines that have been used almost exclusively in the U.S.–Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and J&J–were given “emergency authorization” by the FDA early this year and have proved very effective. Yet there has been serious hesitancy, or blatant refusal, of nearly one third of adult Americans to get the vaccine. This has greatly inhibited the U.S. from achieving the goal of “herd immunity” (at least 80% of the population having antibodies) for COVID-19 in order to stop its spread.
Instead, this anti- or non-vaxxing has led to many more infections and deaths from this disease than were necessary this summer. It is partly due to the fact, as medical authorities had warned, that delaying any level of herd immunity would enable the development and spread of variants. And that’s exactly what has happened.
Almost all COVID-19 infections in recent months have been a new variant called Delta. In late spring, it looked like the U.S. was about to overcome this deadly pandemic as businesses had ended shutdowns and U.S. commerce was re-opening. But the Delta variant spread rapidly and proved to be twice as infectious as the original COVID-19, called Alpha. As a result, more people are dying again, businesses are moving back to shutdowns, and it is largely due to anti- and non-vaxxers. Businesses, such as airlines or restaurants, do have the legal right to require their customers to show proof of vaccination and/or wear a mask in order to enjoy their services.
This return to a more deadly pandemic in the past three+ months is causing further division between the vaccinated and non-vaccinated. On September 9th, U.S. President Biden delivered a major speech about COVID-19 and vaccination for it. He of his administration regarding anti- and non-vaxxers, “Our patience is wearing thin.” He also called upon businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. For many, that raised legal issues. But most legal experts said the law is on the side of the government to impose such health restrictions in such a deadly pandemic.
COVID-19 has begun to affect peoples’ health insurance. Some insurance companies are re-assessing their coverage of COVID-19 anti- and non-vaxxers.
Some employees who are being required by their employers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or be fired are taking the latter path and thus quitting. Businesses often have a financial investment in their employees such that employee turnover rates harm the company financially.
Thus, in the future, employers may require that prospective employees to include on their resumes whether or not they have had a COVID-19 vaccination, and if not that may disqualify them for a job with that company. Discrimination? I don’t think so. One issue is that vaccinated employees don’t want to risk their health in working with non-vaccinated employees. Thus, employees could demand that all workers be vaccinated.
In sum, it is going to more and more difficult for non-vaccinated people to live in a COVID world.