Monday, November 15, 2021

On Vaccination Mandates.

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine

Ed Hessler

Dr. Scott Gottlieb served as the 23rd commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He discussed the following question with Dr. Leana Wen of the Washington Post. "Is the short-term benefit from the mandate worth the potential for long-term harm to public health?" Dr. Wen put it this way: "Is the juice worth the squeeze?"

There isn't a clear answer and Wen noted that workplace mandates work, citing the 96 percent vaccination achievements of Tyson Foods, the 97 percent by United Airlines, and the fact that "some businesses appreciate the federal government's action because it gives them cover to implement vaccine requirements."

However, there is always the other hand. In this case it is the sense of government overreach which could "jeopardize childhood immunizations." Here is the teeter-totter. On one side is "the potential for opposition"; on the other side "the added value of increasing vaccinations." There is no clear answer.

There is a simple fact. The train has already left the station and "backing down now is not going to stop the controversy which has been with us from the beginning--masking, social distancing, community events, etc. Of course, Wen wishes "that Americans would have decided to get vaccines on their own and that mandates weren't necessary. ... But that's not our reality." 

But we should continue to push vaccinations in softer ways and Wen strongly agrees "with Gottlieb that we need to focus on preventing further erosion of  trust in public health."

Dr. Wen publishes a free public health newsletter on the Washington Post. The article referred to above may be found here (November 10, 2021), likely behind a paywall.  You can at least read about her background and credentials! To subscribe see here.

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