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No shots mean workers opt out

A worker who refuses to ignore the requirement

A worker who refuses to ignore the requirement to get vaccinated has voluntarily decided not to work in that position, a reader writes. Credit: AP/Hans Pennink

My job as a physician has many mandates: vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis, whooping cough, chickenpox, COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. I must have a tuberculin test and physical exam every year.

I must take annual courses on infection control, CPR and risk management. I must maintain my board certification every six months. I must wear protective gear and wash my hands. If I refuse or fail to comply with these mandates, I am no longer qualified to work in my job, because I present a risk to myself, my co-workers and my patients ["3% of healthcare workers out," News, Oct. 14].

When any worker refuses job requirements, they don’t "lose" their job. They have voluntarily decided not to work in that position.

— Dr. Daryl Altman, Lynbrook

A reader complained that he is tired of people complaining about their liberties being violated and being mandated to get vaccinated ["Protecting us is hardly authoritarian," Letters, Oct. 13]. I believe vaccinations are effective and got mine as soon as I could, but others shouldn’t be mandated. Six months ago, health care workers, teachers, et al., were hailed as heroes, and given parades, balloons and signs praising their efforts. Now they’re being fired for their beliefs.

If mandates are to be issued, I would hope everyone would be required to get vaccinated, especially immigrants seeking asylum who cross our borders before being sent to another American city.

— Neal Damato, Shirley

Once again, employers are temporarily blocked from denying a religious exemption for many who are claiming that vaccines were tested using a fetal stem line from the early 1970s ["Judge: Health care staff in NY can seek religious opt-out," News, Oct. 13].

Many common over-the-counter medications were tested using these lines, including Tylenol, Tums and ibuprofen. Also, the monoclonal antibody treatments, such as Regeneron, were tested on these lines.

Most religious leaders, knowing this but understanding that saving a life is primary in their teachings, have endorsed taking the vaccines. Judges should require those requesting a religious opt-out to provide a list of all medications the individual is currently taking to determine whether some were tested on stem cell lines. If so, the exemption should be denied. Millions of us have been vaccinated to protect ourselves and our community. I want to feel comfortable that when I go to a doctor or hospital, I’m safe from getting COVID-19.

— Karen Mankin, Westbury

The toll the pandemic has taken on families, mental health and people’s lives has been tragic. Months ago, progress was being made, and I was excited at the prospect of getting back to somewhat of a normal life. The rates of infections and deaths were dropping. Now, with the delta variant, my excitement turned to disappointment and anger.

Politics should not play a part in health policy, and facts are being twisted and manipulated. The basic facts are that people need to get vaccinated, wear masks and stay socially distanced. The unvaxed and unmasked are a drag on our society and economy. Nearly all of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. This is unacceptable.

The rest of us who have complied with the rules should not have to pay for their beliefs. New York City is allowing only vaccinated people to use indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues. I believe that Nassau and Suffolk counties should follow suit. The unvaxed should not control our destiny. We need to get back to a society where doing the right thing is rewarded.

— Brian Zimmerman, Massapequa

Why isn’t everyone required to be vaccinated, whether entry is legal or they are apprehended entering illegally? There is only one way the controversy surrounding mandates can be resolved. A clear message must be sent mandating vaccinations and masks for everyone in our country, not just our citizens. No universal mandate sends a message that partisan politics is at play and encourages conspiracy theories.

My husband and I are vaccinated. The first variant has been identified, and measures are being imposed to try to stem its proliferation. As the coronavirus continues to evolve and other variants surface, will we remain in a constant state of mandates? To stem the influx of potential outbreaks, shouldn’t vaccines be made mandatory for everyone?

President Joe Biden and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts recommend vaccinations for all our citizens.

Shouldn’t everyone crossing our borders, including tourists who only need to show a negative COVID-19 test, have the same request applied to them with the same level of intensity and urgency as expressed by our president and CDC for our citizens? And if not, why not?

— Rosalie Norton, W. Hempstead

I am disgusted by the attitude of people playing the religious card in order to opt out of getting vaccinated. Many religious leaders have given the green light to people who claim their religious rights are being violated. It’s hypocritical to flaunt one’s religious beliefs only when it suits one’s own interests.

Yet they will not choose the path to protect their family and neighbors. There are cancer survivors, the immunocompromised and small children who are vulnerable. People should stop making poor excuses and start doing their civic duty — because that’s what it is!

— Diana Blasic, Levittown

I know it is by choice that people don’t want to get vaccinated, but they are wrong and putting others at risk. I find the various reasons for not getting vaccinated ridiculous.

More than 4.8 million people worldwide have died from this virus and more than 700,000 here in this country. These are the facts, not fantasies. The refusal by  those who ignore the science or haven’t read about it is the main reason this virus is still with us. I guess these people think they are smarter than the doctors who have studied viruses their entire careers.

— Wayne Mortak, West Babylon

The chance for herd immunity rests with the roughly one-third of unvaccinated American adults. Those Americans will never be convinced to vaccinate against the coronavirus. Approximately 30 million Americans still smoke tobacco products and, unlike vaccines, there is no debate on the subject — smoking kills.

Nevertheless, millions of Americans still smoke, and no doctor, sports star or other celebrity can convince them to give up the habit.

Getting a vaccine? Face it: Tens of millions of Americans will never be convinced to get it. Prepare for a bumpy ride.

— Steven Blasko, Ridge