Bonnie Jacobson, a woman working a server job in New York City, was recently fired because she refused to get a COVID-19 vaccine. She told “Good Morning America” that she was postponing getting the vaccine due to the fact that she and her husband were trying for a baby and didn’t know if the vaccine would negatively affect that in any way, according to ABC7. This raises the question: Is it fair for employees to be fired for not getting the vaccine.
One would assume that as long as employees were following COVID-19 guidelines such as wearing masks or face covering, social distancing, and washing their hands frequently that there should be no issues, but this particular incident shows otherwise. There are companies, just like the restaurant Jacobson worked at, that are requiring their employees to get the vaccine if they want to maintain their job positions.
When speaking to CNBC, Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney, disclosed that it is completely legal for employers to do this. “Under the law, an employer can force an employee to get vaccinated, and if they don’t take it, fire them,” Dunn told CNBC.
“I don’t think it’s right,” said Abra Richardson, a freshman at Columbia College Chicago. “She should be able to choose if she wants the vaccine or not because there aren’t enough studies, especially for pregnant women, if this vaccine could affect her pregnancy and if it is actually worth getting.”
Due to the fact that this vaccine is relatively new and no one knows how it can affect our bodies yet, I don’t believe that it should be a requirement for employees to have the vaccine. Practicing social distancing and wearing masks is still the only true way to prevent the virus from spreading. Experts have already told us that receiving the vaccine doesn’t eliminate your chances of getting COVID. “A vaccine forces your immune system to make antibodies against a specific disease, usually with a dead or weakened form of the germs. Then, if you come into contact with them again, your immune system knows what to do,” according to a WebMD post . Getting the vaccine could potentially help to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but it isn’t the one and only solution.
Situations like Jacobson’s could be the new normal. That still doesn’t mean that a person’s choice should be disregarded. Employees should have the right to choose whether or not they want to receive the vaccine. Guess we will have to see how situations like these will play out in the future.
By Cierra Lemott, Freshman, Columbia College Chicago
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