Understaffed hospitals bring back COVID-positive nurses to avoid hiring unvaccinated workers.
As hospitals continue to face staffing shortages as a result of mandated COVID-19 vaccines, some hospital systems across the country are compensating by allowing some workers who have COVID to return to work.
The California Department of Public Health announced over the weekend “temporary flexibility to assist hospitals and emergency services providers in responding to an unprecedented surge and staffing shortages” by allowing asymptomatic employees to return to work. The department cautioned that it should be done only after hospitals “have exhausted all other options,” and that even then, infected workers should “interact only with COVID-19 positive patients to the greatest extent possible.”
Dr. George Rutherford of the University of California, San Francisco, told NBC Bay Area that using infected workers is not unusual, but California Nurses Association president Sandy Reding said she is “very concerned.” If you have COVID-positive health care workers caring for vulnerable populations, we can spread the COVID virus inside the hospital as well.”
“Allowing employers to bring back workers who may still be infectious is one of the worst ideas I have heard during this pandemic, and that’s saying a lot,” Bob Schoonover, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) chapter in California, told CBS Sacramento.
So you can still work in a hospital if you have active COVID but doctors and nurses who don’t have COVID and are unvaccinated are fired. Am I the only one who perceives the absurdity of this scenario?https://t.co/8vHumvcYoo
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 11, 2022
While evidence suggests that the asymptomatic are unlikely to spread COVID, the same can be said for those who are asymptomatic but unvaccinated. Furthermore, some hospitals are even more “flexible” — according to ABC News, some hospitals in Arizona and Rhode Island “have likewise told employees they can stay on the job if they have no symptoms or only mild symptoms.”
Mandates for doctors, nurses, and other staffers to receive the relatively new COVID shots — some voluntarily imposed by hospitals, some imposed by state governments, and one imposed by the Biden administration (though it remains unenforced pending Supreme Court review) — have contributed to staffing shortages, putting a strain on medical services across the United States.
“Mandates put in place last year by Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom required health care workers to get COVID-19 vaccines or face termination,” the Epoch Times reports. “In October, healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente suspended more than 2,000 employees who had not been vaccinated.” Other California health-care systems, including Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and Sutter Health, have also terminated or suspended employees who have not been vaccinated by the fall of 2021.”
The COVID-19 vaccines remain unpopular, owing in large part to the fact that they were developed and released in a tenth of the time it takes to develop a vaccine and a quarter of the time it took the previous record-holder, the mumps vaccine, as part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative.
Vaccine supporters point out that the one-year development period did not begin from scratch, but rather drew on years of prior research into mRNA technology; and that one of the innovations of Operation Warp Speed was to conduct various aspects of the development process concurrently rather than sequentially, eliminating delays unrelated to safety. These factors, however, do not fully account for the condensing of clinical trial phases — each of which can take anywhere from 1-3 years on its own — to just three months.
While cases of severe harm reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) after receiving COVID shots account for less than one percent of total doses administered in the United States, a 2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “less than one percent of vaccine adverse events.” NBC News reported in May that several mainstream experts acknowledged “gaps” in federal vaccine monitoring.
Furthermore, data show that the widespread distribution of COVID vaccines has not resulted in the abolition of the pandemic. The federal government considers more than 207 million Americans (62 percent of those eligible) to be “fully vaccinated” (a moving target given the vaccine’s temporary nature), but data from Johns Hopkins University released in October shows that more Americans died of COVID-19 by 2021 (353,000) than in all of 2020. (352,000). The Moderna vaccine has been available for the entire year of 2021, while the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots were made available in late February.