Friday, January 14, 2022

Abracadabra Mandamus

      That's that, then: in a decision that ultimately rested on questions of jurisdictional authority, the U. S. Supreme Court has determined that the Feds cannot implement a vaccine-or-test requirement on employers with a hundred or more employees through OSHA: it's not within OSHA's bailiwick.  Safety glasses and gloves, yes.  Vaccination, no.  (Will the Biden Administration try another tack?  Maybe.  But they're pretty axle-wrapped with Congress and the cases-per-day graphs are going nearly straight up: this round is over and the virus has a commanding lead.)

      Conversely, the Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can require COVID-19 vaccination of workers at healthcare facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid patients.  This is akin to the old 55-mph "national speed limit," which was a string attached to Federal highway funding: if Uncle Sam pays the piper, he gets to call the tune.

      If you were holding off on getting vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 on account of not wanting to be made to do so, now's your chance to get the jab on your own recognizance without backing down.  And you may want to do so now, because:

      Unless you have a contract (and sometimes even then), in most states there's still nothing at all keeping your employer from mandating vaccination as a job requirement.  A lot of companies had been holding off, hoping the Feds would play the big, bad meanie making people get shots and spare them the blame.  They lost that bet and they'll have to decide for themselves. 

      And so will you.

      I'm not in charge of other people's decisions, and that's undoubtedly a good thing.  I can share facts, and I have done so.  The omicron variant of COVID-19 is still spreading, and spreading fast.  Vaccination has been shown to reduce the severity of infection (by 12x or more) and improve the survival rate, though at this point, for best results you'd have to get the shot and play safe for a month or so.  We are all extremely likely to catch omicron, sooner or later; it spreads at least as easily as a cold.  Unfortunately, for the unvaccinated it carries much greater risk than a cold.

      You'll have to roll your own dice.  Good luck.

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