Op-Ed: Vaccine mandate madness leading to mass resignations | Opinion

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Throughout the United States, COVID-19 vaccine mandates are wreaking havoc, causing a mass exodus of employees. From nurses to school teachers, American workers are resigning en masse due to one reason: federal, state, and local vaccine mandates.

In my home state of Illinois, for example, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared that all Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers must be vaccinated by Oct. 15, or else they will be placed on unpaid leave.

As of now, one day before Lightfoot’s vaccine deadline, nearly half of CPD officers are in jeopardy of losing their livelihoods because they have chosen, for whatever reason, not to get the COVID-19 vaccination.

According to Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John Catanzara, “It’s safe to say the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50 percent or less for this weekend coming up.”

Catanzara added, “That is not because of the FOP. … That is 100 percent because of the mayor’s unwillingness to budge from her hard line. Whatever happens because of that manpower issue, that falls at the mayor’s doorstep.”

Lightfoot, undeterred by the danger that Chicago’s already overworked police force could be halved in a day, responded, “The only way we can make this work is we’ve got to hold people accountable, and we are absolutely prepared to do that. … Again, our messages to the members: Protect yourself. Protect your family, protect your partner, protect members of the public, get yourself vaccinated.”

Unfortunately, this is par for the course when it comes to vaccine mandates. The message to CPD officers (and health care workers throughout the nation), who put their lives on the line protecting people during the pandemic: thanks, now get vaccinated, or else.

Obviously, this makes little sense. It also is a giant slap in the face to all the brave Americans who literally put their lives in jeopardy for more than 18 months, treating COVID-19 patients and doing other jobs that had to be done.

Moreover, blanket vaccine mandates, like the one Lightfoot issued to CPD, fail to consider those who have recovered from COVID-19 and have natural immunity.

Several studies show that natural immunity offers far superior protection than any of the COVID-19 vaccines. Per one recent study, “natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity.”

Heavy-handed vaccine mandates are also an infringement on religious freedom. Because vaccine developers used aborted fetal tissue in the production process, many Americans (including some CPD officers, I suspect) have legitimate reason to be exempted based on their sincerely held religious beliefs.

Aside from the scientific and religious aspects, what about bodily autonomy? The mayor of Chicago, the governor of Illinois, and the president of the United States should not have the power to require that Americans be inoculated or else they not be allowed to hold a job.

This is anti-American to the core. And it will wreak untold havoc in an already chaotic economy.

The U.S. job market currently has 11 million job openings, an all-time record. As vaccine mandate deadlines loom, it is highly likely the number of unfilled jobs will skyrocket in the near future.

Some professions, such as police officers and health care workers, cannot afford to lose more workers due to vaccine mandates.

At this point in the pandemic, any American who wants to be vaccinated has had ample opportunity to do so. The vaccines are free and widely available. Those who have chosen not to get vaccinated have done so for a reason. That is their decision, and theirs alone.

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.

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Caleb Alexander

Caleb Alexander

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