Just as Taiwan has recently required a vaccine attestation or out-of-pocket weekly testing for all teachers, the Biden administration is currently debating similar measures being imposed on the US Federal Government, including a full mandate. These would include not only DC employees, but the US Postal Service workers as well as the 2.1 million person workforce.
If carried out at state and local levels, and instituted in the military, such a policy could apply to up to 24 million people.
The legality is backed up by a recent decision in favor of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and several other states have upheld such laws. This has been especially been true, and contentious, in states where firing employees requires little or no cause, which ironically also tend to have higher rates of unvaccinated individuals.
This comes in the context of recent CDC confirming last month that hundreds of cases of myocarditis, a rare heart inflammation, had occurred mostly in males under 30 after being vaccinated with mRNA vaccines including Moderna and Pfizer. The FDA was forced to add a warning for those being vaccinated.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, whose service base is mostly made up of those over 50 including many with chronic or serious medical conditions, decided it will enforce an outright requirement, while New York City has done the same for its government workers.
Some have expressed resistance to the idea of legally mandating a medical procedure, including the head of the CDC Rochelle Walensky, who was skeptical of the efficacy of appearing too forceful on the issue. Law enforcement officers, too, through their labor organization the FLEOA, have also labelled such mandates as a “clear civil rights violation.”
Others have suggested that attestation and safety restrictions would be sufficient, including mask-mandates and compulsory testing, as being implemented in Taiwan for teachers and soon to be required for healthcare workers in California, as such mores are more amenable personal freedom norms.
Vaccine passport regulations were passed in France this week, despite mass protests and clashes with police. The protests were supported by just over half of those under 31, and about one third of the populus overall. It will require vaccinations or proof of a negative test to visit most public establishments, such as restaurants and theaters.
In places, like Taiwan, where there is also very little choice available for vaccines and the government is unable or unwilling to put out a timeline or clear information about the use of vaccine imports or the data from the domestic vaccines, the lack of transparency can cause friction between the government and workers.
Taiwan has mostly making available the Astra Zeneca (AZ) vaccine with very little vaccine choice offered to affected workers, despite clear absolutely evidence that this vaccine should not be administered to those under 50 years of age.
There are restrictions against such use of the AZ vaccine in under-50s across the UK, where it was invented, under 60 in Australia, Germany, and Italy, and under 65 in Sweden. It has been outright banned in Denmark and certain provinces of Canada. Moderna doses in Taiwan were instead reserved for pregnant women, despite absolutely no scientific basis for this policy, whatsoever. Some Moderna doses were also reserved for the elderly at the expense of the young, with the scientific evidence actually suggesting that the opposite is prudent.
Such actions imply that Taiwanese public health officials are no longer relying on evidence-based science, but are becoming less thoughtful in their decision making with a clear focus on reopening at the possible expense of public safety.
Perhaps with government support for vaccine attestation, paired with subsidized testing and continuing mask-mandates, social tension could be somewhat ameliorated, even as both Taiwan and America seem eager to follow other countries where mandate policies have been met with political unrest.
Staff writer: Ari B