By Guy Page
Formal FDA approval of the Covid-19 vaccine is “many months” away, Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine said at the press conference today.
Vermont Daily asked the commissioner, “employers can’t mandate vaccination until after formal FDA approval. When do you think that FDA decision would be made? Weeks away? Months? What’s the timeline?”
“I honestly don’t know,” Levine said. “I don’t believe anyone knows.” There’s normally more than one study, the studies need to be long enough, and there needs to be ample time to evaluate the studies. “That usually means quite a few months. I would think it would be well into…(he paused)… many months.”
The question of formal FDA approval is important because employers and other institutions (such as colleges) cannot legally mandate vaccination until that vaccine has been granted formal FDA approval. The Pfizer vaccine distributed in Vermont today has been issued under “emergency use authorization.” Federal guidelines forbid compulsory vaccination under these circumstances.
As for today’s vaccine distribution – “Operation Warp Speed clearly lived up to its name,” Levine said. “This is a clearly pivotal moment for Vermont.” But Vermonters must continue observing health safety guidelines as vaccines are administered, he said.
Holiday gathering decision expected by end of week – Gov. Phil Scott said today he would decide by the end of the week whether to extend his holiday gathering and winter sports restrictions. He’s encouraged the total number of new positive cases “dipped down into the 60 range” yesterday. But – “One day doesn’t make a trend. We’ll have to see if that continues.”
“It won’t be back to normal, I can guarantee that,” Scott said. The more Vermonters adhere to guidelines now, “the quicker we’ll get out of this.” He’s worried that if Vermont takes the wrong steps now, we will pay for it in January and February. The governor hopes to “get back to some kind of normal in the spring.”
Gov. Scott also called the Stamford selectboard decision to hold a Christmas tree lighting public gathering “unfortunate in some respects.” He said he hopes they practiced good mask use and social distancing. “They did what they thought was appropriate and I hope others will learn from it,” he said.
As reported yesterday by Vermont Daily, the Stamford selectboard defied Gov. Phil Scott’s Covid-19 emergency orders Dec. 3 by not canceling a Dec. 4 public gathering: the traditional family-friendly lighting of the town Christmas tree in front of the local elementary school. The selectboard disliked Montpelier telling them what to do about public gatherings. As one selectboard told Rep. Laura Sibilia, the legislator for Stamford, “Laura, you took an oath to uphold the Constitution, I would imagine, and you guys are running over it along with the governor.”
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I have a serious problem with employers and other institutions being able to legally mandate vaccination under any circumstances. I thought health care decisions such as this were supposed to be between doctor and patient. You know—my body, my choice. Or does that only apply to abortion, which in fact involves two bodies? The government and pharmaceutical industries have already made themselves immune to prosecution for any adverse reactions caused by vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines are being rushed out to the public without much of the usual testing for both safety and effectiveness, which is dangerous, regardless of where you stand on the right to bodily autonomy. If an employer chooses to require his or her employees to be vaccinated, who will pay the damages for any side effects, up to and including death, that may result? I would expect a legal document signed by my employer agreeing to be held responsible for any and all potential adverse effects, before even considering acceptance of this assault on my freedom.
For one thing, there are religious exemptions to any State mandated vaccination requirements. And the State accepts no responsibility for its regulatory success or failure in that regard anyway.
As an employer, however, I reserve the right to require employees to be vaccinated. I also require drug testing to be sure employees aren’t physically or mentally impaired at the workplace. I require training. I require certain social behaviors. Why? Because, as a business owner, it’s my responsibility to be accountable for the workplace safety of my employees and my customers, and I reserve the right to set certain standards to assure my success.
And not only do I have the right to regulate my business, those who might consider working for me, or buying my products, have the right to NOT do business with me, based on their sense of personal responsibility. In fact, they can work elsewhere, work for my competition, or start their own businesses.
“If an employer chooses to require his or her employees to be vaccinated, who will pay the damages for any side effects, up to and including death, that may result?”
The employer pays. The employer provides Workers Comp healthcare coverage, disability coverage, retraining and unemployment coverage. The employers also provide wrongful death coverage. And the employer pays for that insurance.
I’m not telling anyone whether or not they should take any vaccine. I am here to tell you that doing so is your business. And, unfortunately, not only do you have to decide for yourselves whether or not the benefits of a vaccine outweigh its risks. Today, with our over-regulating and totally irresponsible Government officials, we have to weigh the risk of breaking the Government’s regulations, whether or not they prove to be effective.
Any agency, entity, business, etc. forcing a vaccine should be held accountable for all damages. Testing for drugs is one thing and requiring certain behaviors is fine… but enforcing a medical procedure that comes with the risk death and damages is assault and worse.